Copyright Information

Copyright is a form of intellectual property that grants the creator of an original work the exclusive right to the use of the work. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

Copyrights are given to creative works in a tangible form, including:

  • Literary works
  • Dramatic works, with music
  • Pantomimes, choreography
  • Musical works, with words
  • Motion pictures and other audio-visual works
  • Pictorial, graphic, structural works
  • Sound recordings

Exclusive rights granted to copyright owners include:

  • Reproduction of the work
  • Distribution of the work
  • Deriving new works
  • Performing the work publically
  • Displaying the work publically

Some exceptions are made for the educational use of copyrighted material but they run from very specific with clear guidelines on what is considered an educational exception (such as the TEACH Act) to Fair Use which is a legal defense that can be used when someone is being sued for copyright infringement. More information on each can be found here:

Open Education Resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed materials available for classroom use. Many of these materials are licensed through the Creative Commons which allows copyright owners to share their works within specified guidelines.

Sources for Open Educational Resources

  • University of Minnesota’s Center for Open Education: Includes a library of OER that are used at multiple institutions or are affiliated with a credible organization.
  • OpenStax: Foundationally funded textbooks available as ebooks or low cost print editions.
  • OER Commons: A platform created by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education for educators (at all educational levels) to share and collaborate with OER.

For more information on copyright visit the United States Copyright Office or contact:

Kelly Kornkven
Library Director
Mayville State University