The creation and use of intellectual property is an important part of Columbus State University's academic mission. It is imperative that students, faculty and staff respect the legal guidelines for creating and using intellectual property in the United States.
Because every situation is unique, it is stressed that CSU students, faculty and staff become familiar with copyright information, issues, guidelines and resources as they will need to use their own best judgment in determining what falls within the boundaries of the legal use of intellectual property in particular contexts.
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, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.
Publication is no longer the key to obtaining federal copyright. When a work is "fixed in a tangible form of expression," it is protected underneath the U.S. Copyright Law. This also means that the use of a copyright notice is no longer required for protected works.
A work that was created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author's life plus an additional 70 years after the author's death. In the case of “a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire,” the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author's death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author's identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
Works that were created before 1979 have been automatically brought under the statute and are now given federal copyright protection. The duration of copyright in these works is generally computed in the same way as for works created on or after January 1, 1978: the life-plus-70 or 95/120-year terms apply to them as well.
Copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Copyrightable works include the following categories:
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others: