Quick Copyright FAQs
Copyright laws were developed
- to protect the rights of authors,
- to protect the rights of access to the public, and
- to clarify what those using copyrighted works can do.
Using materials legally in an educational setting is easier than you think. Use the FAQ guides below to help you determine if you are in compliance.
What should you consider when using something you did not create?
- Is the work copyrighted or licensed?
- Do copyright laws apply?
- How recent is the work?
- Do the answers to these four questions favor fair use or not?
- purpose of the work
- nature of the work
- amount to be used
- effect on the market
- What format do you want to use?
- Is that format a fair use?
What rights do copyright owners have
The copyright owner has the rights to:
- Reproduce or make copies of their work.
- Publish in any media.
- Withhold their work from being published in any media.
- Perpare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work.
- Distribute copies of their work.
What rights do faculty and students have as copyright users?
Fair use and other relevant copyright law provisions are the essential means by which teachers teach, students learn, and researchers advance knowledge. The Copyright Act of 1976 defines intellectual property principles in a way that is independent of the form of publication or distribution. These provisions apply to all formats and are essential to modern library and information services. The fair use guidelines define the limited copying that is allowed under the U.S. copyright law without the permission of the owner.
Educators have an obligation to educate students about their rights and responsibilities under intellectual property law.
Material created for use in the classroom may or may not be suitable for presentations at conferences. While it may be appropriate to demonstrate at a conference program, be sure to have copyright permission for anything that is distributed or posted for conference attendees.
Some of the resources that faculty wish to use with students fall outside the provisions of fair use. The educational rules do not apply in the commercial marketplace. For instance, some library resources are available to students and faculty for academic research only, and may not be used for internships, mentor, MCFE projects or other commercial use, although they may be consulted as background information. See the sections on specific formats for any of your questions.
Students may use portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works in their academic projects, with proper credit and citations. They may retain them in personal portfolios as examples of their academic work. This includes the right to integrate various materials into computer/sound/visual programs if the resultant product remains the property of the student, is not placed into the school's collection and no copies are sold, broadcast, transmitted, or performed outside the classroom.
Students must include on the opening screen of their programs and on any printed materials that their presentation has been prepared under fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and are restricted from further use. Be sure to refer to the fair use guidelines. Seek permission where there are any questions.
Some of the resources that students wish to use fall outside the provisions of fair use. See the sections on specific formats for any of your questions.