What is Copyright?
Copyright protects the recording of ideas in some form (as text, audio, visual, digital media, software program, artistic works, etc.) but NOT the ideas themselves.
Check out the U.S. Copyright office website for more details. Be sure to also read the FAQs.
- Copyright protection exists even if a work is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
- Although you can use the ideas and facts that someone else has presented in a copyrighted work, you must cite the author's name and the source used to indicate and give credit to the original author, otherwise this is an act of plagiarism.
- Use of copyrighted materials without permission and/or correct citation is both unethical and illegal.
This means that as a student, you retain the copyright to any work you produce. If you publish your work, the copyright passes from you to the publisher, although you may be able to retain certain rights to use your work.
Note also that copyright protection also applies to material on the Internet.