A "copyright" is a set of exclusive rights granted to the creator of an original work. The work can be a book, magazine article or web page, a photograph, a drawing or painting, a song or musical composition, maps or a computer program.
The copyright owner has the exclusive right to decide how others may use his or her work. Generally, copyrighted materials cannot be reproduced or used without the express permission of the copyright owner. Permission might allow unrestricted use (with or without acknowledgement to the copyright owner), licensed use for a period of time (once, one year, forever, etc.), use with or without a fee, and so on. License details explain the rights of the licensee for use, reproduction and/or modification of the work.
In the United States, written works are automatically copyrighted immediately upon creation. Some authors choose to register their works with the U.S. Copyright Office. Legal remedies available to the copyright owner for copyright infringement differ significantly depending on whether or not the work is registered. If the work is registered, remedies may include damages, loss of profit, costs and attorney fees. Willful violation of a copyright on a commercial scale may even be subject to criminal prosecution.
An exception to the copyright license is called "fair use". Typically, "fair use" applies to citation of portions of a work for news reporting, scholarly works, criticism, library archiving and so on.
DirtCheapCopies.com cannot copy copyrighted or licensed materials (except under the "fair use" doctrine) unless the copyright owner or licensor has given you explicit permission to copy the materials. For example, we can copy specific pages of a book that you are using for research, but we cannot generally copy the entire book. We can copy song lyrics but generally not musical scores.
Licensed images may also be problematic. If we are designing your business cards or brochures and you provide us with images obtained from the web, we would have to know that the images were obtained pursuant to a legitimate license (e.g. the image was obtained from a Stock Photo library rather than simply copies from somebody's web page).
If you have any doubt about the usability of an image, especially those obtained from the web, you should contact the site's webmaster for permission to use the image on your printed work.
NOTE: this article does not pretend to be legal advice. If you have any concerns about materials you have created or materials you plan to use, please consult an attorney for competent legal advice. Any decision regarding the right to copy/print made by DirtCheapCopies.com, its owners, employees or contractors, is final.