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Copying or Displaying Recorded Works: Advice for Faculty

Disclaimer: Information on this guide is based on the studied opinions of CU librarians, but is not legal advice.


Is It Protected by Copyright Law?
U.S. Copyright Law 102 & 107; Copyright Term Extension Act


What does U.S. Copyright Law protect?


1. Copyright law protects original ideas that are recorded in a fixed medium (unrecorded ideas are not protected)   


2. Copyright owners (and those whom the copyright owner authorizes) have an exclusive right to do the following with the recorded work:

  • Reproduce the work

  • Prepare derivative works from the work

  • Distribute copies of the work (ex: movie from book)

  • Perform the works publicly

  • Display the work publicly

     See Copyright Basics



What does U.S. Copyright Law not protect?


1. Facts

abbreviations                                                                     layout                                                                     punctuations 

blank forms                                                                          lettering                                                              recipes

common patterns                                                        letters                                                                     short phrases

common symbols                                                         methods                                                              systems

design                                                                                          musical notes                                             titles

fonts                                                                                               names                                                                   typeface    

ideas                                                                                              numbers

See Works Not Protected by Copyright


2. Government Documents

You may use any recorded work created by people while they were employed by the U.S. Govt without their permission. Such works are not protected by U.S. Copyright Law (105).


How long is a recorded work protected
by U.S. Copyright Law?


Recorded original work is protected for the life of the author plus 70 years, with some exceptions (see Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the U.S.)

See Copyright Basics