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What is copyright?
Copyright is a property right. Copyright law protects copyright material from unauthorized use and provides a business framework for dealing in intellectual property. All Atlanta History Center material is copyright whether marked © or not.
Copyright applies globally and is regulated by a number of international treaties and conventions (including the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, the Rome Convention and the Geneva Convention), so whether you are in the Antarctic or Zimbabwe, St Petersburg in Russia, or St Petersburg in Florida, you need to obtain permission to use copyright material before using it.
How do I obtain permission to reproduce copyright work?
You need to contact the copyright owner, his or her agent, or the organization to which rights have been assigned. Without exception, prior written consent must be sought before making any copies of material in any form for any purpose. This includes printing or photocopying copyright material, posting it on web pages, broadcasting it, or republishing it in other publications such as newspapers, books or magazines.
Are there any legal implications if I reproduce something without securing the permission I need first?
Those who reproduce copyright material without first obtaining written agreement from the copyright holder risk exposing them to legal action. A breach of copyright can lead to severe financial penalties and in some cases criminal liability. Whether you wish to reproduce material for commercial purposes or otherwise, the key point to remember is always to secure written permission from the copyright holder, his or her agent, or the organization to which rights have been assigned.