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See also Copyright

The idea of copyrighting gives an individual, corporation, or other organization the right to own their "intellectual" or "cultural" property. Most people are familiar with the copyrighting of books and the notion that the author has the right to be paid for his or her work. But this right has been expanded to include all forms of media and many different kinds of property, including visual arts, music, and the internet.

In practice, copyrighting is more complicated, especially since the emergence of the internet. The ability to find nearly anything on the Web has led some individuals to believe that they may use anything that is posted publicly and not be in violation of copyright. That, however, is not the case. Copyright is in fact a complicated area of law. A broadcast journalist, for instance, may be able to claim an exemption from copyright to use a video clip from another company's newscast. This is often referred to as "fair use." But that exception is still limited to uses that are in the public interest.

So while copyright gives an exclusive right to the creator, originator, or owner of a work, that right may be limited by law in various ways. Copyright is not forever, for instance. It is limited to a certain number of years.