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Artist working on mural
Computer Code
DJ at Turntable
Dancers Near Liberty Island


Did you know that your creations are protected by copyright the moment they are made tangible?  Copyright isn't given only for literary or creative works; it also includes computer code, architectural works, and many types of scholarly works like manuscripts and dissertations.  Copyright can also apply to dance, pantomimes, and works of art.

Copyright gives creators rights to copy, distribute, sell, and make derivates of their work.  It is important for creators to know their rights and legal protections for their work, and also to understand how they can respect the creative and intellectual works of others.  See the links on this Research Guide for more information, or reach out to your FAU campus library.

Image sources: and  Permission for limited commercial; attribution not required.

Copyright Information: Circulars

The US Copyright Office distributes their explanations and current policies on copyright in their Circulars.  See their link for essential information, how to register for a copyright, and specialized topics for creators such as:

  • Visual Arts Works: Pictorial, Graphic and Sculptural Works​​​​​​; Architectural Works; Photographs
  • Performing Arts Works:  Musical compositions; Choreography and Pantomime; Multimedia Works; Sound Recordings
  • Literary Works:  Computer Programs; Websites



Literary Works

Fair Use

Fair Use for Creators

Codes of Best Practices

When it comes to fair use, recommendations and creative communities made codes of best practices suggest lower-risk uses of copyrighted work.  Best practices are frequently created with the advise of legal experts.  Keep in mind, however, that they are suggestions and do not override copyright law.

Register a Copyright

A copyright is automatically granted to a creator for his or her work the moment it is made tangible.  Although registration is not required, it is necessary for defending a copyright in a lawsuit; it may be recommended for those who want documentation for legal purposes.  Creators can either go to the US Copyright Office web page to register theirs, or consult with an intellectual property attorney for guidance.

US Copyright Office (2019).  Copyright registration [Video].

Work Made for Hire

Whether you work in the music industry or STEM, various professions make use of contractual or temporary employees who create works that can be copyrighted.  If you create works under such terms, you may or may not own the copyright or other benefits of your work.  Experts recommend to know your employment contract and its terms, get informed on works made for hire within your field, and to seek legal advice as needed.  

Books in the Library

Last updated on Feb 29, 2024 9:22 AM