From openmichigan

Jump to: navigation, search


[edit] What is copyright?

Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original expression. Copyright does not reward effort or ideas, but rather the expression of those ideas. A work must be in some tangible form (e.g. written, recorded, drawn, painted, sculpted, built) in order to qualify for copyright. Copyright is a bundle of rights that governs how the original work may be used. In U.S. law, for example, the copyright owner has five exclusive rights:

  1. Duplication
  2. Performance
  3. Derivative works
  4. Distribution
  5. Public display.

The copyright owner may give one, all, or any combination of these rights to another person or organization, such as a publisher.

You may have heard the term "public domain". In many countries, the term public domain actually has two meanings. The first meaning refers to public knowledge or making something publicly available. The second meaning is a legal term which refers to the collection of works that are not copyrighted. This is the meaning that is used within this toolkit. This includes works with copyright terms that expired as well as works which are not eligible for copyright. These works are "no rights reserved" - people may use them freely for any purpose without requesting permission.

Copyright should not be confused with plagiarism. The chart below explains the distinction.


[edit] International Considerations

Copyright law differs by country. For this reason, when you select a license for your OER, you should use the unported version of the Creative Commons licenses since is the most comparable across countries. Questions to consider when identifying the impact of copyright on OER production and dissemination within your country are:

  • What is the purpose of copyright?
  • What are the exclusive rights of the copyright holder?
  • What types works are protected by copyright?
  • What criteria must be met in order for a work to be eligible for copyright (sometimes referred to as copyrightability)?
  • What works are in the public domain?
  • What is the duration of copyright?
  • Is a copyright notice (i.e. (C) Year, Author) or registration required for copyright protection?
  • What copyright exceptions and limitations (CEL) exist which permit the use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions?

[edit] International Resources

If you are from the U.S. or interested in U.S. copyright law, you may enjoy the Open.Michigan copyright game. If you are interested in learning more about your country's copyright laws, the World Intellectual Property Organization has an archive of the national copyright laws and international treaties for every country. The Access to Knowledge (A2K) Network and the Africa Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project also provide detailed reports on the copyright legislation in select countries. For those interested in learning more about the nuances of copyright when sharing materials across borders, P. Bernt Hugenholtz and Ruth L. Okediji have written an article titled Conceiving an International Instrument on Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright (CC:BY-NC-ND).

Below are some country-specific copyright resources for select countries.

[edit] Ghana

[edit] South Africa

[edit] See Also

Personal tools