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Humanities*: Copyright and Fair Use

A compilation of resources to begin your research in Humanities.

Copyright Basics

Copyright Basics - Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of "original works of authorship" that are fixed in tangible form of expression. (Circular 1 from

Copyright's Purpose: What Copyright is For

*Copyrights are exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work.

Copyright and Fair Use

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What Copyright Covers

Copyright works fall into the following categories:

  • Literary works (which include computer software)
  • Musical works, including any accompanying words
  • Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings and architectural work

“Chapter 1: Circular 92/ U.S. Copyright Office.” Copyright,.Gov,

What Copyright Does Not Cover

Copyright does not protect:

  • Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, or discoveries
  •  Works that are not fixed in a tangible form (such as a choreographic work that has not been notated or recorded or an improvisational speech that has not been written down)
  • Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans
  • Familiar symbols or designs
  • Mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring 
  • Mere listings of ingredients or contents For more information, see Works Not Protected