Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) to authors. The owner of copyright has the exclusive right to do and authorize the following:
Copyright protection covers both published and unpublished works as well as out-of-print materials.
Facts, ideas, procedures, processes, systems, concepts, principles or discoveries cannot be copyrighted. However, some of these can be protected by patent or trade secret laws.
Copyright protection currently lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. If there is more than one author copyright protection lasts for the life of the last author's death plus 70 years.
Copyright Basics, from the U.S. Copyright Office, provides an excellent overview of the copyright law and procedures.
The Western Nevada College Copyright Policy. "It shall be the policy of Western Nevada College to observe and adhere to the provisions set forth in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, and any subsequent revisions or additions, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Technology, Education, and the Copyright Harmonization (TEACH ) Act that impact the reproduction of copyrighted materials for educational purposes. It shall also be the policy of Western Nevada College to observe and adhere to the provisions of the Higher Education Act of 2008 that prohibit the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials through illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property."
The guide does not supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.
The information on this subject guide was adapted from the McGoonan Library of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Under the “fair use” rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author’s work without asking permission. However, “fair use” is open to interpretation. Fair use is intended to support teaching, research, and scholarship, but educational purpose alone does not make every use of a work fair. It is always important to analyze how you are going use a particular work against the following four factors of fair use.
The Fair Use Evaluator can help you decide if you are using copyrighted materials "fairly" under the U.S. Copyright Law.
Exceptions for Instructors assists in identifying if an intended use meets the requirements set out in the copyright law.
The following two charts can provide helpful information on deciding if you are using copyrighted material fairly.
Produced by the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University.
A chart to help instructors with what can be copied under the law.
U.S. Copyright Office provides a fact sheet on Fair Use.
University of Texas provides a summary of Fair Use.
Guidelines for Print Materials:
Guidelines for Distributing Copies
Guidelines for Using Materials Found on the Internet
Guidelines for Using Multi-Media
Multimedia works are created by combining copyrighted media elements such as motion media, music, other sounds, graphics, and text. It is recommended that you use only small portions of other people's works.
What is considered a small portion?
The following guidelines allow you to use multimedia without permission of lawfully acquired copyrighted works.
Guidelines for Images
Fair Use Guidelines For Digital Images provides useful information for assessing fair use of digital images from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education
The Center for Media and Social Impact from the School of Communication at American University. This site will help media literacy educators understand their rights under the doctrine of fair use in order to help them more effectively use media as an essential part of their teaching.
"The Copyright Office is an office of record, a place where claims to copyright are registered and where documents relating to copyright may be recorded when the requirements of the copyright law are met. The Copyright Office furnishes information about the provisions of the copyright law and the procedures for making a registration or recordation."
"Link to the circulars and fact sheets providing basic information about registration, fees, compulsory licenses, and other aspects of the copyright process."
Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians (Circular 21 from the U.S. Copyright Office)
An excellent resource if you want to learn more about copyright. Georgia Harper from the University of Texas Libraries is responsible for the course content which is updated on a regular basic and licensed under Creative Commons.
Brad Templeton presents the "10" common myths regarding copyright.
University of Minnesota has put together an extensive website on copyright and fair use.
A project of the American Library Association providing useful information on using copyrighted material in an academic setting.
Need to gather permission to use copyrighted material?
You may contact Nichole Paul at the WNC Library for assistance with questions concerning copyright, email@example.com or 445-3229. The Library works with the Copyright Clearance Center to obtain permission to reproduce copyrighted content such as journal and book chapters, place items on library reserve, or on electronic reserve. Click on Copyright Clearance Center for more information about their services.
Creative Commons provides a pool of CC-licensed content that you can freely and legally use. You can locate hundreds of millions of works — from songs and videos to scientific and academic material — available to the public for free and legal use under the terms of our copyright licenses, with more being contributed every day."
If you choose to seek permission on your own, the University of Texas Libraries provides valuable information about how to obtain permission to use a particular work. It also includes a Sample Letter Requesting Permission, and information on what to do if you cannot find the owner for permission.
SHERPA/RoMEO is a searchable database of publisher's policies regarding the self- archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories.” As an academic author putting articles you have published online can be a difficult situation. The publisher may or may not allow you to post the articles. Search this database to find out the conditions that may apply.
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