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Even though you can access it, download it, share it, post it, or change it -- it may still be illegal. Understand your rights as a creator, and the rights of those whose work you'd like to use.

Copyright Symbols
© copyright 
® registered trademark
CC creative commons; look for other icons to indicate permissions to cite (attribution), edit (derivatives), and share (with or without profit)
Not all copyrighted material will have these symbols or information on the copyright. Unless the material specifically gives permission to copy/download and use, you must assume that you cannot.

Copyright Guidelines at a Glance (pdf) provides an easy to read chart describing the usage rights for images, websites, music, video, etc...

Protecting YOUR Original Work
Your work (research papers, poetry, stories, lyrics, photos, artwork, music, website, etc.) is copyright protected as soon as it is created and in a tangible form of expression. It does not have to be published or registered with the copyright office to be protected. Note: Copyright laws vary by country; however, they are quite similar with very few differences.

Web Copyright Protection - Securing Your Photos and Graphics on the Web
Links to resources that will help you learn about copyright and image protection as well as software and services that offer image protection.
Copyright for Kids - Copyright Basics
Q & A on copyright including how to obtain a copyright and how to register for a copyright.
Copyright for Kids - Register Your Own Works
How and why to copyright register your own works.
How to Copyright Music
How to register original works of music with the copyright office.
Copyright in General
Q & A on copyright including when your work is protected and why to register a copyright.
Links to copyright information from the U.S. Government. Includes links to the forms used to register a copyright

Copyright Terms
• Creative Commons: a kind of copyright that makes it easier for people to copy, share, and build on your creative work, as long as they give you credit for it.
• Creative Work: any idea or artistic creation that is recorded in some form, whether it is hard copy or digital
• Copyright: the law that protects your control over the creative work you make so that people must get your permission before they copy, share, or perform your work.
• Fair Use: the ability to use a small amount of someone's creative work so people know how it can be used.  There are four factors you should use to evaluate whether a use qualifies as fair:
• License: a clear way to define the copyright of your creative work so people know how it can be used.
• Piracy: Piracy includes downloading music, copying software, downloading games, downloading and/or copying movies and much more. 
• Public Domain: Works in the public domain are not protected by copyright, so you can use them freely. This includes all works published in the US before 1923.