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Copyright at Kettering University

Guide to copyright and what is means for Kettering University students, faculty and staff.

Copyright Protects...

In the United States, copyright is an AUTOMATIC protection of an original work. Copyright does NOT need to be applied for, but can be registered if the creator so wishes.

Furthermore, you do not need to use the copyright symbol on your work in order for it to be protected. However, registering copyright does provide benefits, including legal protection. For more information on registering copyright, please see the Copyright Registration Portal. 

In order to be original, a work must be created independently. A work must also be "fixed" in order to be protected under copyright, which means it must be preserved in some from through a tangible medium.

The following are a few examples of mediums which can be protected under copyright: 

  • Literary works
  • Musical works
  • Pictures
  • Graphics
  • Sculptures
  • Audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings

(Copyright Basics, 2018)


©2018, Regents of the University of Michigan.  Copyright Basics: Copyrightability. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://guides.lib.umich.edu/copyrightbasics/copyrightability

What can be copyrighted

In the United States, copyright protects only “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression.” To be eligible for copyright protection, a work must be:

  • Original: To qualify as original, the work must be created independently and must have “at least a modicum” of creativity.
  • A work of authorship. Works of authorship may include any work preserved in a tangible medium, such as those listed above. 
  • Fixed: A work must also be "fixed in a tangible medium of expression" by or under the authorization of the author. Writing a work on paper or on a computer hard drive, recording a work on tape, and sculpting a work out of marble (or ice!) all satisfy this requirement. An unrecorded improvisation (e.g., in music or dance) would not satisfy this requirement (Copyright Basics, 2018). 

©2018, Regents of the University of Michigan.  Copyright Basics: Copyrightability. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://guides.lib.umich.edu/copyrightbasics/copyrightability

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