Creative materials referred to as “copyrighted” are protected by territorial intellectual property laws that grant the creator exclusive rights for its use and distribution, usually for a limited time only.
Those exclusive rights are not absolute. A major limitation is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves. They also are limited by exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. Examples of fair use in United States copyright law include commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, and scholarship.
Copyright in most jurisdictions attaches automatically without need for any formality once a creative work is fixed in tangible form (i.e. the minute you put pen to paper, take a photo, or hit the “save” button on your computer).
Infringing copyrights—even unintentionally or unknowingly—can lead to liability.
- [[[Creative Commons]]]
- [[[Public Domain]]]