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Copyright and Intellectual Property Toolkit: Definitions

Here you can find information, resources, and tools to address copyright issues and concerns in research and teaching.

Venn diagram with three intersecting circles. The three circles are labeled Copyright, Patent, and Trademark. The area  in the center where the three circles meet is labeled with a question mark.

("Copyright, Patent, or Trademark?" by BusinessSarah, CC-BY.) 

Scholarly Communication Glossary

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property refers to any intellectual creation, such as literary works, artistic works, inventions, designs, symbols, names, images, computer code, etc.

Intellectual property law exists in order to protect the creators and covers areas of copyright, trademark law, and patents.

Thus, intellectual property is an umbrella term encompassing both copyright and industrial property, such as trademarks, patents, and inventions.

(Source: The Free Dictionary http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Intellectual+Property)

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property.

The U.S. Copyright Office defines copyright as

  • A set of exclusive rights awarded to a copyright holder or owner for an original and creative work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.
  • A limited statutory monopoly that gives a copyright holder the sole right to market a work for a limited period of time.
  • Copyright also includes exemptions that permit a user of the copyright-protected work the right to exercise an exclusive right without authorization or royalty payment under certain conditions.

(Source: U.S. Copyright Office, "Copyright Basics" - http://copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf)

Copyright includes literary and artistic works, such as

  • Novels, poems, plays, and films
  • Musical works
  • Artistic works, such as drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures
  • Architectural designs

Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.

(Source: U.S. Copyright Office, "Copyright Basics" - http://copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf)

For more details on the definition and parameters of copyright, visit our Copyright page

What is industrial property?

Industrial property is a form of intellectual property that includes inventions, patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographical indications of source (i.e., products that are closely identified with their geographical places of origin).

(Source and more information: WIPO: http://www.wipo.int/designs/en/‚Äč)