In 1790, the Constitution enshrined in American law the principle that an author of a work may reap the fruits of his or her intellectual creativity for a limited amount of time. Copyright protects through law original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. Today, copyright provides to an author the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute his or her work. The also provides, in the case of certain works, a right to publicly perform or display the work; in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission. The author may also grant to others a license to engage in these activities. The author, however, may not bar anyone from using an idea, procedure, process, slogan, principle, or discovery.
Copyright law in the United States has changed often since the Constitution granted Congress the power to provide protection to authors’ creative works. Click on the link below to learn more about major moments in copyright.
For detailed information click on the tabs provided at the top of the page.
In many cases, you can eliminate the need for permission or fee by simply giving your students a link to the work instead of making copies of it.
Click here for detailed information on Creating Persistent Links to full text content.