Security & Safe Computing
Copyright is the legal protection of all forms creative expression on any form of media.
Be aware of the limits of the fair use of intellectual property, which is protected under copyright law in cyberspace as well as the real world.
To the general public, intellectual property, in the form of computer software and digitized entertainment, is a highly tempting target for reproduction and distribution. But intellectual property is protected under copyright law in cyberspace as well as the real world, and you need to be aware of the limits of your fair use. Illegal duplication, file sharing or use of any type of intellectual property constitutes copyright infringement and could be subject to university disciplinary action and civil and criminal penalties, including fines.
Creators Own Exclusive Rights
Copyright law generally gives authors, artists, composers, and other such creators the exclusive right to copy, distribute, modify, and display their works or to authorize other people to do so. Moreover, creators' works are protected by copyright law from the very moment that they are created — regardless of whether they are registered with the Copyright Office and regardless of whether they are marked with a copyright notice or symbol [©]. That means that virtually every e-mail message, posting, web page, or other computer work you have ever created - or seen - is copyrighted.
You may only reproduce copyrighted materials only if one of these four instances apply:
- The owner has given you permission
- The work is in the “public domain"
- It falls under “fair use”
- You have an “implied license” to do so.
Admittedly, the latter three require more explanation than can be given in this overview, so you are strongly urged to consult the full document or a lawyer for more information.
In conclusion, copying material in digitized form is easy to do, but that doesn't make it legal. Avoid the temptation to reproduce copyrighted material in any form and on any media, unless you have explicit permission to do so.
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