The copyright clause found in Article One, Section Eight, of the U.S. Constitution states:
- "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
This clause protects the original works of authors and inventors. This clause is the foundation for the US Copyright and Patent Law. The Copyright Act of 1790 was the first copyright law enacted in the United States and set the initial terms of copyright.
A major provision allows "fair use" — that is, exact quotes or excerpts can be republished without permission under certain conditions. The conditions are moderately restrictive to for-profit publishers. However, not-for profit educational encyclopedia like Conservapedia have very wide leeway in using "fair use" as long as it does not seriously hurt the copyright owner financially.
- Stephen Fishman. The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know (2008) excerpt and text search
- Mary LaFrance. Copyright Law in a Nutshell (2008)
- Stanford University Libraries. Copyright FAQs