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English 3140: Technical Writing (Beck): Copyright Basics

Copyright Guide

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

The U.S. Copyright Act (title 17 of the U.S. Code) is the federal statute that describes copyright law in the United States. Copyright protection applies to original works of authorship set in a tangible medium. Original works may include literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural and audiovisual creations. A tangible medium may include anything from paper to hard drives and other electronic memory devices, the web, film, software, architectural blueprints etc.

Copyright Slides

Copyright: Forever Less One Day

U.S. Copyright Office

The U.S. Copyright Office is division of the Library of Congress.  It is an office of record, a place where claims to copyright are registered and where documents relating to copyright may be recorded when the requirements of the copyright law are met. The Copyright Office furnishes information about the provisions of the copyright law and the procedures for making a registration or recordation, explains the operations and practices of the Copyright Office, and reports on facts found in the public records of the Office. The Office also administers the mandatory deposit provisions of the copyright law and the various compulsory licensing provisions of the law, which include collecting royalties.

Who Can Be an "Author?"

Helpful Copyright Office Links