This is the "General Copyright Information" page of the "Copyright for Faculty and Staff" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Copyright for Faculty and Staff  

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

General Copyright Information Print Page

Public Domain Slider

The Public Domain slider is a tool to help determine the copyright status of a work that is first published in the United States.

Fair Use Evaluator

The Fair Use Evaluator is an online tool that can help users understand how to determine if the use of a protected work is a "fair use."

Section 108 Spinner

Section 108 of the U. S. Copyright Code allows libraries & archives, under certain circumstances, to make reproductions of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder.



Technology and copyright law : a guidebook for the library, research, and teaching professions - Bielefield, Arlene

Call Number: KF3030.1 .B5335
Patent, Copyright & Trademark
Patent, copyright & trademark
Call number:  KF2980.S85
Cover Art
Internet surf and turf--revealed : the essential guide to copyright, fair use, and finding media - Waxer, Barbara M.
Call Number: ZA4201 .W39 2006
ISBN: 1418860069


Copyright Basics

If you are making copies for a class from a print copyrighted work, keep in mind the following general restrictions:

1. You may not use a copy of an article, book chapter, or a portion of any copyrighted work from semester to semester or every time a course is taught without obtaining permission from the copyright holder.

2.  Use of a portion of a copyrighted work must meet the tests of spontaneity and brevity:

Spontaneity is defined as the decision to use the work is spontaneous and at the inspiration of the instructor, the copyrighted work (or portion of it) will be used at the point of instruction where it will be most beneficial or relevant, and there is not enough time to request permission from the copyright holder.  Spontaneity also implies the use is limited to one-time only at the point of need.  If future or continued use is anticipated, copyright permission must be obtained.

In very simple terms, brevity is defined as:

Poetry: an excerpt of not more than 250 words.

Prose: a complete article, story, or essay of less than 2,500 words, or an excerpt not exceeding more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less.

Non-print formats: generally only 10% of the whole work may be used.

3. No more than one poem, article, essay, or story or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, and no more than three copies may be made from the same anthology, collective work, or periodical volume during one class term.

4. Only one copy per student may be made and each copy must include a notice of copyright.

5. No more than nine instances of multiple copying are permitted for one course during a semester.

6. You cannot make copies of or from workbooks, standardized tests, test booklets, answer sheets, and other “consumable” works (i.e., commercial materials that were purchased for use in the course of study or of teaching).

These general guidelines also apply to use of copyrighted materials in other formats as well.  Additional information on specific requirements that cover the use of non-print and audiovisual materials for teaching can be found in the other sections of this guide.

General Copyright Information

General information including laws, guidelines and information about copyright learning opportunities.

New DVD Copyright Exemption for Educational Purposes

Copied from inside Higher Ed. Quick Takes, published online July 27, 2010, "The U. S. Copyright Office on Monday, [July 19th, 2010], promulgated a number of new exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, including one allowing university staffers and students to hack DVD content and display it for educational purposes. If a university or student lawfully obtains copy of a DVD the agency says, they can bypass the encryption so long as "circumvention is accomplished soley in order to accomplish the incorporation of short portions of motion pictures into new works for...Educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students." The exemption applies when professors or students want to use excerpts of the hacked DVD in documentary films or "non-commerical videos."

Statement from the Library of Congress: "Motion pictures on DVDs that are lawfully made and acquired and that are protected by the Content Scrambling System when circumvention is accomplished solely in order to accomplish the incorporation of short portions of motion pictures into new works for the purpose of criticisim or comment, and where the person engaging in circumvention believes and has reasonable grounds for believing that circumvention is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the use in the following instances: (i) Educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students; (ii) Documentaru filmmaking; (iii) Noncommercial videos".

Exceptions for Instructors eTools

The Exceptions for Instructors eTool guides users through the educational exceptions in U. S. copyright law, helping to explain and clarify rights and responsibilities for the performance and display of copyrighted content in traditional, distance, and blended educational models.

Copyright Videos

  • Copyright on Campus  
    An animated video explaining copyright basics for colleges and universities.
  • A Fair(y) Use Tale  
    Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.
  • Remix Culture: Fair Use is Your Friend  
    A Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video from the Center for Social Media at the American University School of Communication.
  • Copyright, What's Copyright?  
    Sing along and learn about copyright, intellectual property and fair use with this music video.

Loading  Loading...