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Guide to Copyright


"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution)

  • Copyright law in the United States is rooted in the desire to capture and leverage expressions of new ideas.
  • Copyright law recognizes that the impetus to create is based on the ability to access already existing expressions of intellectual creativity and use them as platforms upon which we create anew.
  • Copyright law also provides mechanisms that allow us to use existing expressions of ideas to voice opinion, criticism, and dissent.


Frequently Asked Questions


This tool by the American Library Association will help you find out if a work is covered by U.S. copyright, calculate its terms of protection, and collect and publish the results (as a PDF) to save for your records or further vet with a copyright specialist.