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Copyright and Fair Use: General Information

Copyright in Brief

Assume everything you use is protected by copyright law—even if there is no copyright notice.

  • Copyright owners receive certain rights as soon as the work is created.
  • Copyright owners provide licenses to people who want to use their works.
  • Copyright exceptions allow educators and others to use limited portions of protected works without obtaining permission, and sometimes without obtaining a license

Copyright Exceptions:

  • Classroom Teaching Exception
  • Fair Use

Copyright, Citation and Attribution

All copyrighted materials need to be cited or given attribution.  This includes material used in essays, projects, websites, presentations, Google Classroom, videos, posters, etc. Guidelines on MLA style for Robert College staff and students can be found on our Academic Honesty page here.   A comparison between citation and attribution, can be found here

Copyright and Fair Use Explained

How the Internet is Destroying Copyright Law

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection for "original works of authorship" that are "fixed in a tangible medium of expression". Examples include literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations.  

The Turkish Copyright Office is in the process of revising their intellectual property rights in order to align them with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Rights Standards). Currently Turkish copyright law is documented in law #5846 on Intellectual and Artistic Works (Fikir ve Sanat Eserleri Kanunu) and has had many amendments. 

Copyright protection occurs automatically upon creation, whether or not the author registers the work with the Copyright Office. The protection typically lasts for the author's life, plus an additional 70 years.

You can assume that every work you encounter — notes, articles, books, magazines, compact discs, DVDs, MP3 files, Web pages, computer code—is protected by copyright that is owned by a person or entity.

Laws gives the copyright owner a bundle of exclusive rights, which she or he alone can exercise or delegate. These exclusive rights include the right to reproduce the work, the right to adapt the work, the right to distribute the work, and the right to perform publicly or display publicly certain types of works. The right to grant permission for use of protected works belongs to the copyright owner.

In certain cases, however, members of the public may use protected works in spite of an owner's rights. Copyright exceptions (also called limitations) curb an owner's exclusive rights and allow non-owners to use portions of a work for public interest purposes, sometimes without requiring the owner's permission or without requiring payment of a permission fee. Common copyright exceptions that apply in education are: the classroom teaching exception and fair use.

Can I Use...

Are you making a presentation, creating a website or documentary, and want to use someone else's work? These are some questions you need to ask yourself.

Using someone's text:

  • Is the text in the public domain?
  • Is the text licensed under a Creative Commons or similar license?
  • Does your use fall under fair use?
  • Do you have permission from the rights holder?

Using someone's Photos and Images:

  • Who owns the copyright?  
  • Is the image in the public domain?
  • Is the image licensed under a Creative Commons or similar license?
  • Does your use fall under fair use?
  • Do you have permission from the rights holder(s)?

Using someone's music Composition:

  • Who owns the copyright? Sometimes it's the publisher and sometimes it's the composer.
  • Is the composition in the public domain?
  • Is the composition licensed under a Creative Commons or similar license?
  • Does your use fall under fair use?
  • Do you have permission from the rights holder(s)?