Copyright Scavenger Hunt

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What is Copyright? You have all seen it, the little circle with a "C" inside of it. You may know it is the copyright symbol but do you know what it really means as far as the law is concerned? Copyright is a U.S. law that protects the works of artists, authors, composers and others from being used without proper permission.

What is Copyrightable?

  • literary works (which includes computer software);

  • musical works, including any accompanying words;

  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

  • pantomimes and choreographic works;

  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

  • sound recordings; and

  • architectural works.​

Copyright is automatic upon creation of the work and only two requirements need to be satisfied:

  1. The work needs to be an original work of authorship.

  2. The work needs to be in a tangible form (paper, diskette, web page, etc.)


To protect yourself, it is helpful to add the traditional elements into your copyright signature. Here is an example of the elements: Copyright © 2013, Denise Reilley. All Rights Reserved. Although copyright is automatic, it is recommended you register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registering and paying the registration fee is beneficial if your work is illegally used. Copyrighted material is the life of the author plus 70 years; after that it is considered public domain and is not controlled or owned by anyone.


So, how does this apply to images you create as a student and as a professional? If it is on the internet, can anyone use it? What images can I use off the internet or scan from a book for my student project? Or obtain for professional projects? To answer some of these questions, you will be participating in an online scavenger hunt.

Online Scavenger Hunt

The purpose of this activity is for you to learn about copyright laws and fair use with images that you use in your design project both in an educational and professional setting. Answers can be found within each of the question links.

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© 2013, denise reilley
all rights reserved