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What is copyright? Copyright is the right that the producer of a creative work has been granted to prevent others from copying it. Unlike a patent, however, in most countries you don't have to apply for a copyright - you get one automatically every time you produce creative work. A creative work can be almost anything - a book, a song, a picture, a photograph, a poem, a phrase, or a fictional character. In the U.S., buildings built on or after December 1, 1990 are also eligible for copyright.  Licenses may be granted to others, giving them the right to copy the work subject to certain conditions. A license is similar to a contract - the work may only be copied under the conditions given by the copyright holder or if one of the other exceptions to the copy right applies. Copyright laws vary between countries; the relevant U.S. law is Title 17. The Berne convention is a comprehensive international agreement on copyrights which is part of the copyright law of many nations. Copyright does not protect against all possible copying: both U.S. law and the Berne Convention limit its scope and enable much copying without permission even if the copyright holder objects. Also, both the Berne Convention and U.S. law require that a work have some original creativity to be eligible for a copyright monopoly. Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service contains some examples of U.S. decisions about what is and isn't original, including examples such as typo correction.
In broad terms the advice is consistent with good acadamic practice:
· Articles should be largely your own work · Any extended quotes should be referenced to the original author · You can import text from public domain sources