Copyright is one of four categories that comprise "intellectual property."
In general terms, intellectual property is any product of the human intellect that the law protects from unauthorized use by others. The ownership of intellectual property inherently creates a limited monopoly in the protected property. Intellectual property is traditionally comprised of four categories: patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secrets.
-- Cornell University Legal Information Institute
The ultimate purpose of copyright legislation is to foster the growth of learning and culture for the public welfare, and the grant of exclusive rights to authors for a limited time is a means to that end. This guide focuses on copyright as it applies to your intellectual property rights as an author. See also ODU's Policy on Intellectual Property [PDF]
DISCLAIMER: Information in this guide is intended to provide guidance to faculty in making efforts to uphold copyright laws. Specific questions should be directed to University Counsel.