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Fair Use is not intended as a blanket protection that allows you to use anything at any time in an educational setting. There are guidelines and restrictions regarding the amount and types of materials that may be copied and used in classrooms that respect copyright law. This guide is intended to help you when making decisions about materials that you use while teaching.
Dugan Library affirms both the value of copyright as a public good and the right of educational institutions to make fair use of copyrighted materials in teaching and scholarship. Faculty and staff of the college are expected to respect all pertinent copyright laws and to act in accordance with the principles of fair use when reproducing materials for class use.
Before reproducing a copyrighted work it must be determined whether or not that instance of copying or scanning meets the criteria for fair use. The Copyright Act of 1976, Section 107 (see below) describes the factors which must be considered in determining whether the use made of a work in a particular case is fair use. Dugan Library has established these Copyright Guidelines to help determine whether or not a particular use of copyrighted material meets these criteria. If a potential use meets the criteria for fair use then the faculty or staff member may engage in that use without seeking copyright permission. If a potential use does not meet the criteria for fair use then the faculty or staff member is required to obtain Copyright Permission.
Copyright Act of 1976, Section 107: Fair Use
…the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
Material for this guide is adapted from:
If it is fair use, you may copy the chapter or excerpt for your class or scan it and post it on Blackboard. Be sure to include a complete citation.
*If you would like the library to purchase a copy of the book so that your use of the item constitutes fair use, please contact the library director.
If you wish to use more of a book than is permissible under fair use, then you have several options for obtaining copyright permission or otherwise honoring the law. If the situation is ambiguous, it is best to err on the side of caution and treat it as a no.
Getting Copyright Permission
If you wish to use more of a book than is permissible under fair use, then you have several options:
If you would like to make one or more articles available to your class, follow these steps:
1. Check to see if the library already has the article available online
2. Determine if copying or scanning the article would be fair use
There may obviously be ambiguous cases that fall into a gray area in terms of the length or number of articles used. It is better to err on the side of caution and seek permission in these cases. If the course is in progress and it is too late to obtain Copyright Permission then you may choose to use the article once, but if you use it again in future courses you must get permission then. Go to Step 3.
3. Getting Copyright Permission
Reproduction of works that are meant to be written in or "consumed' as they are used, such as lab manuals, work books, etc., can never be copied under fair use. If you wish to use part of a consumable work for a class, you must obtain Copyright Permission.
Literary works such as fiction, drama, and poetry have a higher degree of copyright protection than scholarly or journalistic works. Scholarly or journalistic works are generally intended to be realistic representation of facts, and facts cannot be copyrighted. A literary work is a more wholly imaginative creation, and is thus more fully the property of the creator. Reproduction of a literary work is therefore more likely to require copyright permission.
If you would like to copy or scan a literary work for your class, follow these steps:
1. Find out when the work was written
2. Check to see if the library has the work
3. Determine if copying or scanning the work would be fair use
If the library owns a copy of the work, then copying or scanning a short work or an excerpt of a work may be fair use. Publishers' guidelines are not legally binding but may be used as a rule of thumb for an acceptable amount:
(i) Poetry: (a) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or, (b) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
(ii) Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.
Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts should be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
If the situation is ambiguous, it is best to err on the side of caution and treat it as a no.
4. Getting Copyright Permission
Fair Use and Videos
17 U.S.C. § 110(1) permits “the performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction….”
There are several limitations to fair use for videos:
If the library does not own a copy of a video you are interested in using for a class, you can request that the library adds the video to its collection. Please contact the library director.
Title 17, Section 105, United States Code, provides that:
Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.
The intent of the section is to place in the public domain all work of the United States Government, which is defined in 17 U.S.C. § 101 as work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of the person's official duties. By virtue of the foregoing, public documents can generally be reprinted without legal restriction. However, Government publications may contain copyrighted material which was used with permission of the copyright owner. Publication in a Government document does not authorize any use or appropriation of such copyright material without consent of the owner.
Since the Government Publishing Office serves merely as a printing and distribution agency for Government publications and has no jurisdiction over their content or subject matter, it is advisable to consult with the originating department or agency, or its successor, prior to reprinting any give publication. In those instances in which permission to reprint material from Government publications is granted, customary credit should be give to the Government department or agency which prepared the material. In addition, whenever a work is published consisting predominantly of work of the U.S. Government, the copyright notice (if any) must identify those parts of the work in which copyright is claimed per 17 U.S.C. § 403.
What does this mean for you?
Print materials published prior to 1923 are considered to be in the public domain and can be freely used in the classroom.
Creative Commons Licenses tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of tools and users is a growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.
A variety of licenses designate what you can and cannot do with the content. It is beneficial to understand the restrictions before attempting to use, copy or reformat something.
Visit the Creative Commons webpage for explanations or to snag a copyright logo for your own work:
*Information about the Creative Commons license taken from: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/