- Familiarize yourself with the basics of copyright law and fair use doctrine and know that copyright law benefits you as both a creator and user of others’ works. See copyright.gov and related copyright.gov FAQs for more information.
- Seek guidance from the college’s copyright team at firstname.lastname@example.org when questions or concerns arise and/or visit the Library’s resource on copyright and fair use for additional information.
- A work is automatically protected by copyright if it 1) is an original work and includes an element of creativity; and 2) is fixed in a tangible means of expression.
- A copyright symbol © no longer needs to appear on a protected work, and a work does not need to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, although there are benefits to doing both.
- For-profit educational environments are not able to take advantage of many exemptions within copyright law, including 17 USC §110 that pertains to the TEACH Act, classroom and public performances and displays, such as multiple classroom print copies, and showing copyrighted DVDs.
- In the for-profit environment, fair use is still an available exemption, but the four factor test that aids in determining a fair use, is more stringent due to the first factor: purpose and character of the use
- Not every educational use is a fair use. Apply the four factor test to determine whether a use is fair and then document and save the results in case your use is challenged. An online Fair Use Evaluator can help.
- Although a work, image, music file, etc., may be freely available on the web or other sharing, “open access” site, it does not mean that it is not protected, or that you can use it as you wish.
- Attributing the source of copied material may protect you from a plagiarism claim, but it is not a protection from a potential copyright infringement claim.
- Works made available by the institution, such as online textbooks, software, and library ejournals and databases are subject to licenses that fall under contract law. License terms trump a fair use. Students, faculty, and staff must comply with all licensing requirements. Direct questions to email@example.com for details on permitted uses of these resources, including how you can post an article from a library database to your online course page.
- Proactively seek guidance from experts within the college. In most cases the college can find legal and appropriate solutions to help make needed content available to students, faculty, and staff. Legal advice may be available if higher-level questions or issues arise.
- Share digital works in a restricted environment when possible, such as the learning management system. Do not violate copyright and then further violate by sharing files, e-mailing, and/or posting protected content on the web.
- LINK OUT whenever possible versus downloading and sharing a file. This applies to emails, PowerPoint presentations, postings within the learning management system, and other electronic communications.
- Include copyright notice language on documents and postings when applicable to prevent further distribution of protected content—especially digital content. Library staff can provide you with suggested language.
- Use only portions/snippets of works and take precautions to avoid systematic re-use and redistribution of content.
- Consider alternatives to the use of protected works when needed, such as those in the public domain. As both a user and creator of works, take advantage of Creative Commons licenses that promote content sharing.
- Seek permissions when needed and document your attempts.
- Always practice in good faith … don’t willfully infringe, as the penalties will be more severe if an infringement claim is made against you.
- Don’t ignore warnings from rights holders if there is an infringement claim.
- Take advantage of institutional resources, procedures, and tools that are readily available to help you secure and/or utilize desired content in support of your teaching, learning, and/or research. The college’s Annual Copyright License obtained from the Copyright Clearance Center allows specified uses of content from more than 1,700 publishers. Library staff can provide more information on this campus-wide license that helps ensure compliance.
- Adhere to best practices. You, individually, and the institution as a whole are responsible for staying in compliance with copyright law.
In order for a work to be protected, it must 1) be original and include an element of creativity; and 2) it must be fixed in a tangible means of expression. However, registration of the work with the U.S. Copyright Office or including a symbol © or other copyright notice are not conditions of copyright, as copyright is automatically fixed once placed in a tangible format. There are, however, benefits to registration and placing notice(s) on a work.
|PROTECTED WORKS||NOT PROTECTED WORKS (FREE TO USE)|
Motion pictures, other audio-visual
Common property information, such as calendars
Symbols, slogans, names, etc.
-Most U.S. Government works
-U.S. works published before 1923
-Certain other 20th Century works (consult a
-public domain timeline)
Copyright holders are granted 6 exclusive rights that include the rights to:
- Reproduce (copy) the work
- Make derivative works
- Distribute, sell, rent and/or lease copies
- Perform the work publicly
- Display the work publicly
- Perform a sound recording publicly by means of a digital audio transmission
- Purpose and character of the use (is the use of a commercial nature or is it for nonprofit educational purposes);
- Nature of the copyrighted work (is it factual or creative);
- Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
- Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
- Permissions may often be secured through the Copyright Clearance Center or other collective rights agency. Payment of fees are likely to be required.
- It is important to document your communications and any permissions received regardless of who granted the permission.
- Create your own work or transform an existing work, which would then make you the copyright holder.
- Public domain works can be used freely by anyone without permission. These include many government documents, and materials for which the copyright has expired. To determine if a title or publication now falls within the public domain, refer to this chart or others on the web for details: https://copyright.cornell.edu/publicdomain
- Open access resources are becoming increasingly available. These works are copyrighted but the owner has made them publicly available with limited or no restrictions through newer licensing models such as Creative Commons.
- Use existing college and library-acquired resources that are already available to you. These resources are typically bound by licenses which supersede copyright. College faculty/staff and librarians can help determine permitted uses. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to 17 USC §504, an infringer of copyright is liable for either 1) Actual damages and any lost profits; or 2) Statutory damages of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 per work, as determined by the court. Willful infringement can result in a liability of up to $150,000 for each separate act of infringement. If a “good faith fair use defense” proves successful in court, statutory damages may be reduced to not less than $200. There are also “additional damages” that may come into play.
Although you can still be held liable for copyright infringement, whether or not you were aware that you were violating the law, penalties will be much more severe if you knew you were violating and chose to do it anyway.
Burrell Students, Faculty, and Staff
Please review the College’s Copyright Compliance Policy B5041. Anyone suspected of copyright violations may be reported, anonymously if preferred, to the Compliance Officer through an online incident report form. Students, faculty, and staff who are found in violation of College Policies are subject to appropriate disciplinary action including termination or involuntary withdrawal from the College. Anyone found liable for civil and/or criminal copyright infringement may be responsible for any monetary damages suffered by the College due to such violations of the policy or related law or regulation.
- American Library Association – Copyright Advisory Network
- Copyright Genie: https://librarycopyright.net/resources/genie/index.php
- Fair Use Evaluator: https://librarycopyright.net/resources/fairuse/index.php
- Burrell College Medical Library – Copyright & Fair Use
- Columbia University Libraries – Copyright Advisory Services
- Copyright Clearance Center
- Copyright.gov – Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright
- Creative Commons
- New Mexico State University Library – Copyright Essentials
- No Electronic Theft Act (NET)
- Stanford University, Copyright & Fair Use
- United States Copyright Office, Copyright Law of the United States
- United States Copyright Office, § 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
- United States Copyright Office, Digital Millennium Copyright Act Summary
- University of Texas at Austin Copyright Crashcourse