“The Congress shall have Power … To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Tımes to Authors …the exclusive Right to their respective Writings…”
When you purchase a book, you become the owner of the physical object only.
Making new copies of the book, selling those copies, or adapting the book into a screenplay are all activities reserved exclusively for the copyright owner.
The following websites provide extensive information on copyright, fair use, and the permissions process.
For jointly created works, copyright may be owned by more than one person. For example, both the author and the illustrator of a children's book are copyright owners of that book since they each contributed creative content to it.
Copyright can also be transferred to someone else. This requires a written agreement, signed by the author. Journal publishers often request that authors transfer copyrights when publishing scholarly articles.
This means that anyone else who wants to copy, share, perform or display someone else’s work in public needs to get permission before doing so unless there is an exception that allows this type of activity.
By contrast, private spaces are those places normally limited to family and friends such as a home or dorm room.
Public performances include concerts, movie screenings, and background music in restaurants. Public displays include art exhibits, placing copies of an article on Blackboard, posting a video to YouTube, or uploading an mp3 to a file-sharing network.
1. A work must be “fixed” in a “tangible” form.
This means that it must be written or recorded so that someone can read, watch, or listen to it.
2. A work must be original and demonstrate a minimal level of creativity. In other words, it must be created by the author and not just copied word-for-word from something else.
The bar is set very low for the level of creativity required to qualify for protection and does not depend on the quality of the writing or the talent of the author. Even a simple e-mail message may be eligible for copyright.
A lot of the material listed above is in the Public Domain and is free for anyone to use without permission or payment of royalties, however, some things which are not protected by copyright may be protected by other intellectual property laws, such as Patent or Trademark laws.
With a few exceptions, much of the material we encounter on a day-to-day basis is likely to be protected by copyright. It is important to be aware of your rights and responsibilities when using the works of others in the course of research, study, and teaching.
The US Copyright Office maintains an extensive online library of information about the copyright law. Links to some of these documents, which address a number of the points discussed above, are provided below.