A Resource For Understanding Federal Copyright As It Applies to the Internet

A Primer In Copyright Law


Copyright Crash Course
Take this course,to gain some preliminary knowledge about copyright and fair use. Sponsored by the University of Texas.

Copyright Website
Access this site to find answers to commonly asked questions about copyright.

Copyright Law and the Internet: Selected Statutes and Cases
1999 article, published as part of FindLaw's Corporate Counsel Center,



Section 8, Article I of the United States Constitution Provides that "Congress shall have the power . . . To promote the Progress of Science and Useful Arts, by securing for limited times to the Authors . . . the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." Such an "exclusive right" gives to authors the financial incentive to invest the substantial time and resources necessary to create an original work of art. This "exclusive right" also gives authors some control over the future use or abuse of their "art" once it is released into the often agressive, critical, and hectic marketplace of ideas.[1]

Pursuant to this provision and the Copyright Act of 1976, individuals are guaranteed certain intellectual property rights. [2] Indeed, the use of the term "intellectual property" aptly describes the purpose of such legislation. Just as property law protects the fruits of our labor, such as our homes and posessions, from defacement, theft, or abuse, so too does intellectual property law protect the fruits of our mind, such as our writings or paintings, from censorship, appropriation, or misuse.

It is not easy, however, to determine how existing copyright law should be applied to Internet-based communications.[3] This primer, then, introduces some key concepts as they may be applied to the Internet.

More Information

Copyrightable works :
Review of the legal requirements necessary to obtain a copyright.

Rights of the Copyright Holder:
The scope of legal protection afforded to copyright owners, particularly when those owners exhibit work and distribute expressive works on the World Wide Web.
Limitations on Copyright
Limitations on the scope of copyright protections, particularly as these limitations may pertain to the use and development of expressive works published online


1. See Bruce P. Keller, Internet and Online Law: Copyright, in Fourth Annual Internet Law Institution, Practicing Law Institute, Vol. 1, 169, 175 (2001).

2. See id.

3. See id.

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