Copyright @ Fontbonne University

Questions about Copyright and Fair Use at Fontbonne? Here you can get an overview of the basics and find out where to go to learn more. Also covers public domain, the TEACH Act, peer-to-peer file sharing, and University policy information.

Copyright Policy

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Fontbonne's copyright policy is outlined in Section 2.5 of Volume II of the Fontbonne policy manualsCampus Community Policies. 

What is Copyright?

Copyright law is defined in Title 17 of the United States Code and protects "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression" for a limited period. Copyright protection affords the creator the legal right to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, and publicly display their works. Copyright applies both to traditional media (e.g., books, records, etc.) and to digital media (e.g., electronic journals, websites, images) and protects anything set in a fixed format, including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. literary works
  2. dramatic works
  3. musical works
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works
  5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  7. sound recordings
  8. architectural works

Ownership of a copyrighted work includes the right to control the use of that work during the term of the copyright. Use of such work by others requires either permission from the author or reliance on an exemption to the law, such as the fair use provision. Failure to do one or the other will expose the user to a claim of copyright infringement for which the law provides remedies including payment of money damages to the copyright owner.

Copyright law does not protect ideas, data, or facts.

What is the Duration of Copyright?

In the US, the general rule of copyright duration for a work created on or after January 1, 1978 is the author's life plus 70 years after the author's death. This is often referred to as "life-plus-70." 

Works created by companies or other types of organizations generally have a copyright term of 95 years. Copyright durations vary for works created before January 1, 1978. Once a work no longer carries copyright protection it passes into the Public Domain, meaning it is not protected by copyright law and may be used freely without the need to obtain the permission of the creator.

This page might be helpful in determining whether an item is under copyright protection: https://copyright.cornell.edu/publicdomain.   

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