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You may be familiar with the viral photo and news story in which a monkey took a “selfie” – which was in itself amusing. However, an interesting debate ensued as to who owned the copyright to this photo.
Please read this NBC news article for brief background on the story.
The following resources will establish foundational knowledge on copyright, and do not cover the scope of copyright laws. We will also limit the scope of this exercise to the United States.
To gain a better understanding of copyright, please read pages 1 – 6 of the following United States Federal government document on copyright.
Now read this material from Brigham Young library, and pay special attention to “Copyright Myths.”
Here is another resource developed by the United States government to help you distinguish the differences between copyright and trademarks – a common point of confusion.
Creative Commons is an important, albeit relatively new, part of the overall copyright conversation. Creative Commons (or CC) is a mechanism by which copyright holders can give advanced fairly explicit permission(s) as to how their work may be used.
To learn more about CC, please read the following pages:
Another option available to copyright holders is to place their work in the public domain. As you read, this public domain becomes automatic 70 years after the death of the copyright holder.
However, Creative Commons CC0 makes it possible to immediately release material to the public domain.
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Take the following quiz to assess your understanding of copyright. A 100% score is required for successful completion of this exercise.
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By the way, here is the determination in the “monkey selfie” case.
A score of 100% is required in order to earn completion credit for this quiz. Please select Restart Quiz to try again.
Question 1 of 10
Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.
Question 2 of 10
Creative commons licenses are an alternative to copyright.
Question 3 of 10
A CC-BY-SA license allows for reuse and remixing, as long as the new work provides attribution to the original author and is shared with a similar license.
Question 4 of 10
A CC-BY-NC license is does not allow remixing, only sharing.
Question 5 of 10
Public domain applies to anything on the internet that does not have a copyright symbol.
Question 6 of 10
A monkey grabs your camera and takes a selfie. The monkey owns the copyright to the photo.
Question 7 of 10
In order for my work to be copyrighted, I need to register it with the US Copyright office.
Question 8 of 10
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
Question 9 of 10
The original work I created will enter the public domain 70 years from the date I publish the work.
Question 10 of 10
I don’t need copyright permission when I only use a small amount of the creation.
Image Source: Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons