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Copyright and Fair Use

UT Health San Antonio expects all members of its community to comply with U.S. copyright laws.

What is copyright?

Woman thinking

Copyright is a form of legal protection provided by Title 17 of the United States legal code, to creators. The owner of copyright has the exclusive right to do and authorize the following:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Prepare derivative works
  • Distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or transfer or ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • Prevent other persons from using work without permission
  • Perform the work publicly

What does copyright cover?

Copyright covers published and unpublished works, and out-of-print material. Current copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. If the work has more than one author, the copyright protection lasts for the life of the last author plus 70 years.

Copyright Covers

  • Motion pictures
  • Sound recordings
  • Literary works
  • Written music and song lyrics
  • Dramatic works and scores
  • Dance and choreography
  • Visual arts (painting, photography, sculpture, digital art, etc)
  • Architectural works

Copyright Does Not Cover

  • Facts, ideas, procedures, processes, systems, concepts, principles, or discoveries
  • Titles, names, addresses, familiar symbols or designs, listings of items
  • Works not captured in a tangible form (ie An idea you tell someone but never write down.)
  • Works produced by the U.S. Government

What is copyright infringement?

Using a copyrighted work without permission from the owner is infringement, whether intentional or not. Infringement cases usually fall under civil law, rather than criminal, allowing copyright holders to sue for violations of their copyrighted works.

The doctrine of Fair Use, allows, in certain cases, the legal use of copyrighted works without the need to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Further Reading