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University of Oregon
UO Libraries

Exploring Academic Integrity in Your Research

A UO Libraries self-guided tutorial on integrity in library research and using sources ethically

2 - Copyright

Copyright Origins

Image of TS Eliot copyright page

The concept of copyright began as a way to protect the ability of creators of creative and intellectual works to control ownership and distribution for a fixed period of time. The intention was to benefit society, because if creators could make money off their creations, then they would be encouraged to create more.

Copyright does not protect ideas or facts, just their expression. That means, in order for a work to be copyrighted, it must be original and recorded in a permanent medium, such as on paper, film, or even a computer hard drive. A work does not have to be published; for example, you hold the copyright to the pictures you take on your phone.


Image from Worthpoint. Used under Fair Use.

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