Much of this manual has been a somewhat technical overview of the law and a series of elaborate procedures for compliance. You may have the impression that copyright is one more legal drudgery, with tedious obligations and specious benefits. Compliance may have all the charm and attraction of completing an income tax return. But you need to keep the spirit of the law in mind. The United States Constitution empowers Congress to enact copyright laws to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." The law gives you rights of ownership over your creative works, ideally to encourage their development and publication. Your exclusive rights are intended to foster your creative energies.
The same principle also supports rights of fair use. No intellectual achievement occurs in a vacuum. All new creativity builds on the efforts that have gone before. Fair use is intended to further those essential gains without stifling the original authorís incentives. No one has drawn absolute lines around the scope of fair use, and not everyone will agree whether the law serves its purpose. Yet the copyright system is an important attempt to spearhead greater intellectual accomplishment. Keep in mind not only its rigors, mandates, and procedures, but its opportunities and encouragement as well. If thoughtfully applied, copyright can be an important part of your new contributions to scholarship.