What is Copyright?

Copyright bean Copyright law grants authors for a limited time a “bundle of exclusive rights” in relation to their creative works. These rights include the right to reproduce and to distribute their works, to publicly perform them and to prepare derivative works from originals. Copyright law ensures that people who create new forms of expression receive compensation for their intellectual labor and are motivated to continue their creative activities in the future. Any exercise of the exclusive rights of authors without their express permission violates copyright law, unless such use falls within one of several exceptions to copyright liability.

The most important exception to copyright liability is the doctrine of fair use. The fair use doctrine allows the use of copyrighted works without express permission of a copyright holder with the purpose of news reporting, commentary, criticism, review and the like. When courts decide questions of fair use, they consider several factors including:

In addition, exclusive distribution rights of copyright holders are limited by the doctrine of first sale. The doctrine holds that if a person legally obtains a copy of a protected work, he can dispose of it as he wishes.

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