What is copyright?

Last changed: 07 June 2017
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Why is copyright so important? Well, copyright impacts you, both as a user of others’ works and the creator of your own material.

When starting the information search process, when writing and publishing your own academic work, it's important to know proper praxis, laws and the rules for using other people's materials.


What is copyright?

"Intellectual property laws" protect all manner of intellectual products and copyright plays an important role here. Copyright consists of rules governing an author's rights to determine how his or her literary or artistic work is to be used.

As an author you have the following rights:

  • Economic rights - the right to control how your work is distributed, published, sold etc.
  • Moral rights - right to be named as the author of a work, as well as to oppose any improper use of the work.

Economic rights can be transferred to another (e.g. a publisher) by contract. The moral rights, however, cannot be transferred to another party.

When using works created by other authors, you have the right to cite and refer to text written by others (as long as you reference your sources correctly). When it comes to using others' images, tables and diagrams, the rules are more restrictive - read more about using others' images here..

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