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According to dictionary.com copyright is the "legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work." Copyright laws are meant to protect the interests of a works' creator, while still giving other individuals the ability to use such works in educational situations or for the benefit of society. The exact details of copyright are complex and can be overwhelming. Violating copyright can lead to serious legal repercussions. A basic understanding of copyright is essential to protect yourself and your creative works.
Not sure if you can use a ripped DVD in class? Below is some material related to Copyright Law, Digital Rights Management and DVDs, for you to consider.
Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/) is a strategy to licensing that some authors and creators use to facilitate sharing and creativity. Below are the various options of creative commons licenses (from the official website).
There are some excellent tutorials and informational pages created by academic institutions to help their students, faculty and staff understand the parameters of copyright and responsible use. Below is a sample of these resources. Though each contain information specific to their institution, the overall descriptions and guidelines are universal. See the library's copyright policy for additional information specific to our institution.