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GW Law Library
Research Guides

Copyright Law


"Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of 'original works of authorship' that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. An original work of authorship is a work that is independently created by a human author and possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity. A work is 'fixed' when it is captured (either by or under the authority of an author) in a sufficiently permanent medium such that the work can be perceived, reproduced, or communicated for more than a short time. Copyright protection in the United States exists automatically from the moment the original work of authorship is fixed." (From the United States Copyright Office's Copyright Basics.)

Study Aids

Search Terms

Selected terms and keywords for searching within library catalogs, databases, and websites for information related to copyright law include:

  • Copyright
  • Copyright Infringement
  • Copyright Licenses
  • Fair Use
  • Original Works of Authorship
  • Public Domain