Asset Copyright Definitions

The many shades of ownership…

Copyright ©

…as defined by Wikipedia…
A copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to the creator of an original work or their assignee for a limited period of time upon disclosure of the work. This includes the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work.

Typically, copyright does not need to be registered; copyright owners have the right to control use of their work for a specific period of time. After that time, the work enters the public domain.

Copyright owners can license or transfer their exclusive rights to others.

Derivative Works

Derivative works include translations, musical arrangements, and dramatizations of a work, as well as other forms of transformation or adaptation. Copyrighted works may not be used for derivative works without permission from the copyright owner. Public domain works can be used without permission.

Fair Use

Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the artist/musician/etc.. Some examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons licenses provide simple, standardized alternatives to the “all rights reserved” paradigm of traditional copyright. Artists grant rights for various uses, typically for derivative works, with varying requirements. Learn more about what Creative Commons is here:


CC0 is a specific Creative Commons designation which means Creative Commons, Zero rights restricted. In other words direct or derivative work is acceptable! Use at will.

Public Domain

Public Domain is a work’s copyright has expired and is now available for copyright free use.


One exception to copyright law is parody. Parody is  the “imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect”. Weird Al is allowed to record his songs because they are clearly parodies of the originals.


ALWAYS be sure to read the copyright information before assuming any content is available.