The following offers a quick reference for terminology related to copyright and for when you encounter a computer term used by a student that may be unfamiliar.
Academic plagiarism: Using the work of another without attribution, including facts, data, ideas, arguments, or lines of thinking.
BitTorrent: A peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol used to distribute large amounts of data.
Bootlegging: Distributing, or selling, copyrighted works without permission.
Burning: Using a computer to copy data (text, music, or images) onto a CD.
Copyright: A form of protection provided by the laws of the United States that gives
creators exclusive rights to ownership and use of their “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. Copyright is also protected by international agreements.
Copyright infringement: The unauthorized copying or use of a work that is protected by copyright.
Copyright notice: The copyright notice consists of three elements: the "c" in a circle (©) or the word “copyright”, the year of first publication, and the name of the copyright owner.
Derivative work: A work that includes copyrighted elements of a previously created work, for example, a sequel to a film or novel in which the original characters are again featured.
Downloading: Copying a file from a web page.
DRM (Digital Rights Management): The acronym for technologies, such as encryption codes, that block unauthorized use of digital media or devices.
Facebook: A social networking website that allows people to connect online with both social and professional contacts. Students should be aware that their Facebook page is not covered by the fair use provision that permits use of copyrighted material without permission in their schoolwork.
Fair use: A defense to copyright infringement that allows a person to reproduce or
otherwise make use of a limited portion of a copyrighted work without permission under certain circumstances. Although the limits of fair use are not always clear, permitted purposes generally include criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, and scholarly research.
Fanfic: Derivative works of fiction written by fans as an extension of an admired work or series of works, especially a television show, often posted on the Internet or published in fanzines (for example, when fans produce their own stories using the characters from a show such as Star Trek or a series of novels such as Harry Potter).
File sharing: Copying files from one computer to another, either using file servers on a network or by downloading files over the Internet through a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.
Intellectual property: Any product of a creative mind that is fixed in a tangible form of expression and, thus, is thereafter protected by patent, copyright, or trademark laws.
License: A legal agreement granting permission to use a work for certain purposes or under certain conditions. Cartoon and film characters, for example, can be used on
merchandise (and in some classroom applications) only through a license granted by the copyright owner for that specific purpose.
MP3: An audio file format that is highly compressed for transmission over the Internet and use in digital devices.
MP3 player: A device for playing MP3 files, such as an iPod.
MySpace: A social networking website like Facebook (see left column).
Orphan work: An original work that is protected by copyright but whose copyright owner cannot be identified and/or located, either because the work itself or a subsequent transfer of rights wasn’t registered with the Copyright Office, or because the copyright owner has died and his/her heirs are unknown, etc. Reproduction and other uses of such works carry the risk of a copyright infringement claim.
Patent: A government grant that generally protects an invention from being copied, used, distributed, or sold without the permission of its owner.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) networking: Networks, such as LimeWire, that connect individual computers through the Internet and allow users to download content directly from one another’s hard drives. Such networks are commonly used for copyright piracy and have been identified as a prime source of computer viruses.
Piracy: The unauthorized copying of copyrighted material, most often used to describe the unauthorized copying of CDs, DVDs, and software.
Plagiarism: Reproducing any portion of a copyrighted work without permission. See also academic plagiarism.
Public domain: A work of authorship is in the “public domain” if the term of its
copyright protection has expired or if it does not meet the requirements for copyright
protection (for example, while the design of a calendar can be copyrighted, the content itself cannot). Works in the public domain may be used freely.
Ripping: Copying songs from a CD onto a computer.
Spyware: Malicious software that gathers information from a computer without the user’s knowledge or permission. Spyware can track online activity and collect information about everything from the user’s email address book to their credit card numbers.
Streaming: Viewing or listening to audio or video files online without downloading.
U.S. Copyright Law: Dating back to 1790, when George Washington signed the first Copyright Act, this law governs the rights associated with creative and artistic works by protecting the creators of such intellectual property from its usage by others without their permission. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 provides penalties for developing hardware or software that overrides copy-protection schemes for digital media.
Work made for hire: A work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment. The copyright owner of such works is the employer.
YouTube: A popular Web video-sharing site that enables anyone to store short videos for private or public viewing.