This presentation is exactly what it says: basic, very basic. There are lots of resources for more detailed
information. In fact, there way too many of them. On this web 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.
Why is copyright?
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 U.S.
340, 349 (1991)
Learn more about copyright laws.