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Copyright Law: Home


United States Copyright Office

The United States Copyright Office is part of the Library of Congress.  it is the source to go to copyright material, lookup copyrighted material, and learn more about copyrights.

Copyright Laws Title 17

Title 17 is the federal statute containing copyright law.  This link is to the law as posted on the U.S. Copyright Office website.

Copyright Publications

Useful circulars and forms from the Copyright Office.

Ave Maria School of Law Library

Ave Maria School of Law Library has numerous books and secondary sources on Copyright Law.  The most important of these are listed under Sources in this libguide.  Click on the icon below.

Copyright Law

© Copyright
All Rights Reserved

A small c within a circle as shown above indicates that a publication is copyrighted.  It may or may not be registered with the Copyright Office.  Copyright can be separated into different rights such as the first publicaton rights, reprint rights, foreign rights, or move rights for a created work.  The term, "All Rights Reserved," means that all of these rights are copyrighted.


American Copyright Law has its roots in the United States Constitution. The signers of the Constitution authorized Congress "[t]o 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. . ."  U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 8.

Thus, copyright laws have a dual purpose:  to promote science and useful arts while at the same time giving a limited exclusive right to writers and scientists.

Congress has fulfilled that goal by passing copyright laws that protect the creations of authors but also allow certain fair use exceptions to promote education and nonprofit purposes.  Copyright laws are found in Title 17 U.S.C. which protect "orginal works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device."  U.S. Copyright Act, U.S. Code, Title 17, Chapter 1, Sect. 102.

Copyright falls under the general heading of Intellectual Property Law, which also includes Patent and Trademark Law.  Copyright covers creations of authors and artists, whereas Trademark protects a logo or symbol associated with a particular business and Patent Law protects inventions for their inventors.  

This libguide is a legal pathfinder.  It offers an overview of copyright law and points the way for further research.  In particular, the libguide focuses on the resources at AMSL library.  



Library of Congress Video

For a quick and easy video from the Library of Congress watch "Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright." Click below:


This is a legal research guide to Copyright Law developed by Ave Maria School of Law.  Information found in this guide does not constitute legal advice. The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Ave Maria School of Law, its faculty or its students, and the user or browser. 


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