Copyright is a form of protection provided
by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of
"original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic,
architectural and certain other intellectual works.
is available to both published and unpublished works.
Material in the "public domain" is intellectual
property that does not come under copyright laws.
Nearly all work before the 20th C. is
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the the act of stealing
and passing off the ideas, words, or other intellectual property produced
by another as one's own. For example, using someone else's words in a research
paper without citing the source, is an act of plagiarism.
History of copyright:
First law enacted 1790.
1976 copyright law followed international
law, extending copyright for 50 years after death of the author/creator.
On October 27, 1998, President Clinton signed
into law the "Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act," which extends the terms
of almost all existing copyrights by 20 years, to provide copyrights in
the United States the same protection afforded in Europe. The basic term
of copyright protection, the life of the creator plus 50 years, has been
increased to life plus 70 years. The term for "work for hire" has been
extended from 75 to 95 years.
How long does
not always the creator ] of the work CAN:
Works created on or after Jan 1978 - life
of author + 70
Work for hire 95 years
It is not necessary to have a notice of copyright
(i.e.: © 1997 Jane Doe) for material to be copyright protected in
the U.S. Once something tangible is produced, text, graphics, music,
video, etc., it is automatically copyrighted. Sound recordings and some
other property use other copyright symbols. Anyone can use the copyright
symbol on her or his original work.
copy the work.
create derivative works based upon the work.
sell, rent, lease, lend copies of the work.
publicly perform literary, musical, dramatic,
motion picture and other audiovisual works.
publicly perform sound recordings.
The Internet and
"The Internet has been characterized
as the largest threat to copyright since its inception. The Internet is
awash in information, a lot of it with varying degrees of copyright protection.
Copyrighted works on the Net include new s stories, software, novels, screenplays,
graphics, pictures, Usenet messages and even email. In fact, the frightening
reality is that almost everything on the Net is protected by copyright
law. That can pose problems for the hapless surfer." ("The
Copyright Web site" http://www.benedict.com/)
What is protected
on the WWW?
The unique underlying
design of a Web page and its contents, including:
When creating a Web
page, you CAN:
html, vrml, other unique markup language sequences
List of Web sites compiled by an individual
and all other unique elements that make up
the original nature of the material.
When creating a Web
page, you CANNOT:
Link to other Web sites. [However, some individuals
and organizations have specific requirements when you link to their Web
material. Check a site carefully to find such restrictions. It is wise
to ask permission. You need to cite source, as you are required to do in
a research paper, when quoting or paraphrasing material from other sources.
How much you quote is limited.]
Use free graphics on your Web page.
If the graphics are not advertised as "free" they should not be copied
Many aspects of the issue of copyright and
the Internet are still not resolved. This information, however, should
serve as a useful guide to help you avoid violation of copyright rules
and the pitfalls of unknowingly plagiarizing someone else's material. When
in doubt, please consult the official
copyright rules and guidelines.
Put the contents of another person's or organizations
web site on your Web page
Copy and paste information together from various
Internet sources to create "your own" document. [You CAN quote or paraphrase
limited amounts, if you give credit to the original source and the location
of the source. This same principle applies to print sources, of course.]
Incorporate other people's electronic material,
such as e-mail, in your own document, without permission.
Forward someone's e-mail to another recipient
Change the context of or edit someone else's
digital correspondence in a way which changes the meaning
Copy and paste others' lists of resources
on your own web page
Copy and paste logos, icons, and other graphics
from other web sites to your web page (unless it is clearly advertised
as "freeware." Shareware is not free). Some organizations
are happy to let you use their logos, with permission - it is free advertising.
But they want to know who is using it. They might not approve of
all sites who want to use their logo.
For more resources on this subject,
see Copyright Resources