Frequently Asked Questions

What is a copyright?

A copyright is an intellectual property right in an original work of authorship. Each time you create something original — be it a photograph, a piece of writing, or a video — you are simultaneously creating a copyrighted work. 

“Original” means you created it yourself — it doesn’t mean that the work has to be groundbreaking. Ideas alone aren’t copyrightable, nor are facts. 

 You shoot a :30 video of your cat tap dancing in your dad’s favorite bow tie. Congratulations, you’ve just created a totally badass, copyrighted work! And wow, your cat rules.

What is fair use?

In United States copyright law, “fair use” allows creators to incorporate copyrighted materials into their own work—without obtaining the permission of the copyright owner—when certain conditions are met. (More on those conditions below.) Fair use recognizes that while the primary purpose of copyright laws is to encourage artistic and cultural innovation, rigid application of copyrights would actually stifle that creativity. Society benefits when creators have the freedom to critique and comment on the works of their peers, or to remix and reuse artistic material in new and inventive ways. Read on to learn more about how fair use is determined, and how it may apply to the work you upload to