The purpose of copyright is to benefit the public by advancing the progress of science and the useful arts. (U.S. Constitution, Art. 1, Section 8) Copyright law is created by the U.S. Congress (Title 17, U.S. Code) and is balanced by copyright holder rights and user exemptions.
Exclusive rights of copyright holders include:
Copyright exemptions (limits on copyright) include:
Because copyright is a limited, statutory monopoly, copyright protection eventually ends--public domain materials belong to everyone and to no one.
Adapted from the book, Complete Copyright: An everyday guide for librarians, by Carrie Russell.