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Copyright Law: Title 17: Copyright Law

A basic guide to Copyright Laws.

What is Copyright

Title 17 of the United States Code

"The United States copyright law is contained in chapters 1 through 8 and 10 through 12 of Title 17 of the United States Code. The Copyright Act of 1976, which provides the basic framework for the current copyright law, was enacted on October 19, 1976, as Pub. L. No. 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541. The 1976 Act was a comprehensive revision of the copyright law in Title 17. Listed below in chronological order of their enactment are the Copyright Act of 1976 and subsequent amendments to Title 17." (U.S. Copyright, 2023).

Copyright Law OF THE United States and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code

Simple Definition:

Copyright is the protection granted to an author of a work to govern how his/her work will be reproduced, distributed, displayed, and/or preformed. Copyright is limited to works that are presented in any tangible method of expression. 

Works that are covered by copyright include, but are not limited to:

Print material: books, magazines, articles Databases
Literature: stories, books, poems Illustrations: drawn, painted, computer art
Music: vocal, instrumental, hybrid Photos: people, places, items
Sound Recordings: ideas, training, singing Graphics: street art, computer, web
Video: movies, channels, social media Social Media: accounts, posts, even comments

Cautions with Copyright:

  • Just because it is on the Internet does NOT mean that it’s free to use! Copyright still applies and the copyright holder’s permission should be sought.
  • Materials with a copyright symbol can be used as proof of unlawful activity if reprinted, republished, unquoted, or any other form of copyright infringement
  • Items without the copyright symbol may still be copyrighted.
  • For photos to use in schoolwork, try going to Free Images or searching for Clip Art online for images that are copyright-free.


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