Whether you create a piece of art or you want to include a creative work in a class project, copyright is an important consideration to keep in mind.

On this site, you will find links to a few comprehensive web sites. Those sites will refer you to other sites, which will refer you to other sites, and so on until you exhaust your curiosity, exhaust yourself, or (hurray) find your answer. If all else fails, call the Library or legal counsel.

Why should you care about copyright?

Copyright owners have recently become very active about protecting their rights. The Internet and various technological advances have presented new challenges and questions. If you are sued for infringement, you could face a large financial burden, and, even if you win, you still have attorneys' fees to pay.

The worst liability is for willful copyright infringement or if you completely disregard the rights of the copyright owners. But a court may refuse to award damages if it appears that you made a good faith effort to comply with the law. So that is what this site is for. There are no guarantees, but if you conscientiously try to understand and follow the recommendations set out on this website, you will be able to argue that you acted in good faith.

The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work.

This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art. -- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340, 349 (1991)