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Copyrights Article 1: What is a copyright?

A copyright is a property right given to the owner of the intellectual property that details the rights of the owner versus the rights of the public in use of the copyrighted material. It is defined as a form of protection for “original works of authorship” that includes the exclusive rights to reproduce, modify, distribute, present, perform, and market the intellectual property. This includes but is not limited to literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, graphic, scientific, audiovisual, and scholarly creations.

To be copyrightable, the content must be and fixed in a medium of expression. Abstract subject matter such as concepts, facts, or ideas cannot be protected. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can help you understand whether your material is eligible for copyright (

The Office of Technology Management (OTM) is responsible for overseeing the intellectual property generated by the research and education activities done at the University of Illinois at Chicago and can help you navigate the process for protecting that property. Come talk to us if you have questions.