Skip to nav

What's the point of copyright?

Question | Copyright & Fair Use
What's the point of copyright?

Copyright gives a person ownership rights to what he or she creates. This could be a drawing, painting, novel, song, picture, etc. Copyright not only gives you the right to own the work, but also to reproduce the work, perform the work, distribute copies of the work, display the work publicly, and to create derivatives of the work. Anyone other than the owner of the work cannot use the work in those ways without permission from the owner. If they do use the work without the owner’s permission, they are infringing on the owner’s copyright. Someone other than the owner may legally use the owner’s work for the limited purposes of criticism, comment, news, reporting, education, scholarship, or research without infringing on the owner’s copyright protections. This rule of law is called the Fair Use Doctrine. Click here to learn how to determine if you've fairly used someone else's copyrighted work.

Have questions about free speech rights?

Send your questions our way, and we'll have our team find you an answer. Keep in mind, we’re not actually your lawyers and aren’t representing you. We can definitely help clear some things up and give you some info, but if you need actual legal help for your situation, you should find a lawyer in your area. And don't worry, any information we collect is only for our own research, and we won’t share it or sell it to anyone.

Only used to contact you if we need more information about your question
Only used for our research purposes