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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.
The FAQ below provides information to assist in the legal and ethical use of intellectual property at Columbus State University.
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 This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.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.
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:
Yes, in order to balance the rights of the copyright holder with the rights of humankind to use original works to enhance scholarship and creative activity in the United States, there are certain limitations to copyright. These are:
There are several categories that fall within the purview of Public Domain. These are:
What is in Public Domain is very complex, however. For example, works that are expired in the US may still be under copyright in other countries. It is stressed that without a comprehensive search of the publication history of a work and the history of copyright for the format (for example, scores, musical recordings and printed works may legally define Public Domain differently), it should not be assumed that a work is in the Public Domain. Cornell University provides a good resource that outlines the dates, inclusions and exceptions of the Public Domain in the United States.
Section 110(1) of the U.S. Copyright Law states that:
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, the following are not infringements of copyright:
(1) performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title, and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made;
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.