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Citation Help: APA & MLA

Properly cite and document sources for scholarly and personal research.

What is Copyright?

Copyright gives the creators of a work the right to decide when and how their works can be used or reproduced.

Copyright law provides creators and distributors of creative works with an incentive to share their works by granting them the right to be compensated when others use those works. Rights are granted to the creators of creative works in the U.S. Copyright Act (title 17, U.S. Code). If you are not a copyright holder for a particular work, as determined by the law, you must obtain copyright permission prior to reusing or reproducing that work.

U.S. Copyright Office

The link below will take you away from the library Web site.

Copyright Infringement

When an author copies someone else's copyrighted work--without credit or appropriate permission--to be sold and published in their own work.  For instance, when someone downloads a copyrighted song  without paying for it.

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing environment, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Section 501 of the copyright law states that “anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner ...is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author.”

Generally, under the law, one who engages in any of these activities without obtaining the copyright owner's permission may be liable for infringement. Nevertheless, there are several limitations of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner. The copyright law provides exemptions from infringement liability by authorizing certain uses under particularized circumstances. These exemptions are enumerated generally in sections 107-122 of the copyright law, including Fair Use.

U.S. Copyright Office