Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the U.S. to the authors or creators of materials. Copyright can apply to literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
- reproduce or copy the copyrighted work
- prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work
- distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership
- perform the copyrighted work publicly (in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic works)
- Copyright protection exists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.
Mere ownership of a book, manuscript, painting, document, or any other material does not give the possessor the copyright. The law provides that transfer of ownership of any copyrighted material does not of itself convey any rights in the copyright.
No publication or registration is required to secure a copyright for items. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created and a work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy for the first time. Materials may be registered, which provides additional protection to the copyright holder.
Further information is available at www.lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/circs/circ1.html.
Copyright of Materials on the CGN Site
Copyrighted materials are clearly marked with a large red copyright symbol at the top of each page. CGN contributors and users have two options regarding copyrighted materials:
- CGN members may reprint or reproduce the item, as long as the copyright is noted and the author/owner is properly and clearly credited.
- CGN members may reprint or reproduce the materials only after contacting the designated person directly.
CGN members can stipulate either of the above provisions on materials they are sharing with others via the web site. All CGN members agree to honor these rules as users by joining CGN.
For further information, contact the CGN office.