Copyright Demystified

Why is copyright so complicated?  

The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but ‘[t]o 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 US 340, 349(1991)

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
Mark Twain


Copyright is a cornerstone of academic work – it encompasses many aspects of scholarship and creative activities. But copyright seems to be a complex set of rules and exceptions – is there a way to make it easier to understand? This site describes and provides guidance in understanding the basic information on copyright in academic work and teaching.

Things to remember:



Questions? Contact the Libraries' Scholarly Communications Officer: Elizabeth Brown, (607) 777-4882.

Last Updated: 8/19/13