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NWACC Library

A Short Course in Copyright for NWACC Faculty

Need-to-Know & Best Practices

Copyright Short Course


Neither this guide nor the Library supply legal advice nor are either intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.

Define Copyright

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, "Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works."

"Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer softwar, and architecture. Copyright does NOT protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed."

Copyright FAQ

  • How can we tell if something is subject to copyright protection or not? In the United States, creative works are automatically protected by copyright as soon as they are fixed in a tangible form.
  • How can we find out who the copyright owner might be? Look for the author/copyright holder by the Circle C, the publication data, or hosting organization.
  • If the work is under copyright, what sorts of things can I do with it? A simple circle c means you are bound by fair use and TEACH Act requirements.
  • Are there exceptions or limitations to copyright that might apply - e.g., public domain, open license, fair use / fair dealing, etc.? Yes, some of these issues do allow for limited or generous sharing, or even remixing.

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