Copyright Clearance Center

Get the Facts

Copyright can be a complex and often misunderstood subject. That's why we've provided a place where you can get the facts about copyright and how it is represented around-the-world.

In order to gain a basic understanding of copyright, we encourage you to read each section.


Purpose of Copyright

In general, copyright is a form of legal protection given to content creators through the assignment of specific rights to works that qualify for protection.
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Global Copyright

Copyright is a creation of law in each country, and therefore there is no such thing as an international copyright law.
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Copyright Duration

The duration of copyright may vary from country to country according to the type of work (and the particular right in question).  
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International Copyright Treaties

Several international treaties encourage reasonably coherent protection of copyright from country to country.  
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Exceptions & Limitations

Exceptions and limitations to copyright are special cases defined by law where the general principle that the prior authorization of the rightsholder is necessary to make use of a work does not apply.  
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Licensing Copyrighted Content

Copyright law dictates that purchasing a copy of a work, such as a book, scientific journal, magazine or a newspaper, does not give the buyer the right to make any copyright-sensitive use of that work...
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Copyright Infringement

In utilizing any of the exclusive rights provided to the copyright holder without his permission, you may be violating or infringing on his rights under the Copyright Act.  
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Obtaining Copyright Protection

The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is "created" when it is fixed in a tangible form...
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Tools & Guidelines

Materials to help build copyright awareness in your organization or institution, plus resources for publishers and authors.
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Copyright & Licensing Resources

Resources on copyright and the licensing of non-text works.
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Register a Copyright

When you produce an original work it is automatically protected under U.S. copyright law. However, registering your copyright does offer certain legal benefits, and registration is required in order for a U.S. citizen or resident to file suit for infringement.
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