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Ethics & plagiarism: Intellectual Property Law

This guide was originally created by Erich Heintzelman.

What Is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property refers to ideas or creations that belong to a person or group.  They can be inventions, songs, artistic works and designs to name a few examples.

Who Is Responsible?

The World Intellectual Property Organization is an agency of the United Nations that sets standards and protects Intellectual Property around the world.

Laws In The United States

There are three laws that protect intellectual property in the United States.  Under these laws, it is possible to serve jail time, but usually the offender pays a large fine to compensate the creators of stolen content.

Copyright: Protects the creators of "literary, dramatic, artistic, and certain other works" according to the U.S. Copyright Office

Patents:  Protects the rights of inventors for a "limited period of time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention", according to the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office

Trademarks: Protects a brand "name, symbol, word, or device used in commerce to distinguish the services of one provider from another" according to the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office.

Subject Guide

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Jenna Settles
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