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Copyright Definition

Copyright Definition

"Rights granted by the government to an author, artist, etc. to publish, produce, sell, or distribute copies of their intellectual property. Copyright law also governs the right to prepare derivative works, reproduce a work, and display or perform a work in public."
-Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science (Reitz, 2004)

Current Copyright Terms

Current Copyright Terms (as of 2003)

Published Works: Life of the author plus 70 years for works published on or after January 1, 1978

Anonymous Works, Work for Hire, Pseudonymous Work: 95 years from year of first publication or 120 years from year of creation, whichever expires first.

Works Published before 1922: All works before 1922 are in the Public Domain.

Works published after 1922, but before 1978:  95 years from the date of publication

Is it Protected?

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if a work is protected by copyright. The American Library Association developed a tool to help.

ALA Digital Copyright Slider

This guide was created using several sources including the University of Maryland Libraries Copyright Research Guide by Andy Horbal and Terry Owen, Copyright for Academic Librarians and Professionals by Rebecca P. Butler (2014), and Copyright Law of the United States (2016).