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Faculty Resources & Services LibGuide: Copyright


Copyright protects the rights of creators who make an original work in a fixed medium (U.S. Copyright Office, 2016). It also allows creators (or owners of copyright) to distribute, perform, reproduce, display, sell, or make derivatives of their work.

Basic knowledge of copyright is essential for students, researchers, and anyone else who wants to protect their intellectual work.  It is also important in order to ethically (and legally) re-use the work of others.


Copyright protects the fixed expression of ideas, such as:

Copyright does not protect ideas on their own, such as:


  • Literary works
  • Musical works
  • Dramatic works
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Motion picture and other audio-visual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works

  • Facts
  • Procedures
  • Processes
  • Systems
  • Method of operation
  • Concept
  • Principle or discovery

Need copyright information for teaching and learning purposes?  See the following LibGuide:

Disclaimer:  The FAU Libraries and its faculty, staff, and administration are not attorneys and cannot interpret the law.  This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not substitute for advice from legal counsel. 

Source:  U.S. Copyright Office (2016).  Copyright law of the United States

Also in This Guide:

Copyright Essentials

Federal Laws & Info

Copyright and Related Concepts in Plain Language

Public Domain, Creative Commons, and Free Cultural Works

Copyright @ FAU

Books in the Library