Copyright Information for Faculty and Staff
For help with information on copyright issues contact Lee Semmerling in the library.
The following self-help resource links on this page are meant to provide information on analysis of typical copyright issues facing faculty and staff. It is not legal advice nor a substitute for legal counsel.
MVCC Policy and Guidelines
- Policy for Responsible Use of Information Technology Policy 6710 found in the Board of Trustees Policy Manual
- Code of Student Conduct, Sec. IV Prohibited Conduct - 18
General resources about copyright
- Us Copyright Office
- US Copyright Office Copyright Basics
- U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C.§101-810
- Copyright in General (Columbia University Libraries)
- Copyright and Fair Use in the UMUC Online and Face-to-Face Classroom
- Crash Course in Copyright (University of Texas)
- Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians (U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 21)
- Academic Use of Materials Under Copyright (University of Minnesota Libraries)
A typical copyright use analysis has several steps to consider in the following order:
- First consider whether the work is copyright protected. Copyright law does not protect everything.
- If it is, consider whether your use infringes upon the copyright owner's exclusive rights.
- If it does, consider whether your use fits within one of the exceptions to those exclusive rights. Fore example, fair use is a common exception.
- If your use does not fit within an exception to the exclusive rights, you may be able to get permission to use the work.
Is the work Copyrighted and protected?
Note: Even if a work is not protected by copyright, it may be protected by other laws or agreements.
- Copyright Act, §102,Subject matter of copyright: Works in the public domain are not protected by copyright
- Copyright term lengths for published and unpublished works U.S. government works are not protected by copyright (although some works owned and displayed by the U.S. government are protected by copyright).
- Copyright Act, § 105, Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works Student works
- Dolak, Fritz. "Students' Rights in Copyright." Copyright Forum. Ball State University, Nov. 2003.
Would my use violate an exclusive right?
- Copyright Act, § 106, Exclusive rights in copyrighted works
Linking: Linking to a web page is generally not considered a violation of copyright owners exclusive rights, but there are exceptions:
Is my use an exception that is allowed?
- Copyright Act, §1201, New rules allowing circumvention of digital rights management for "Educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students"
- Copyright Act, §107-122, Limitations on exclusive rights Fair use
- Copyright Act, § 107 Identifies the four factors that are considered when deciding whether a case is fair use
- Description and practical scenarios (Columbia University Libraries)
- Fair use checklist (Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office)- Helps you apply and document the elements of the four-factor fair use test with a Fair Use Checklist that once filled out can be kept as documentation of your fair use considerations.
- Fair use evaluator
- Classroom performances and displays Copyright Act, § 110
- TEACH Act authorizes digitization of works for display in online classes, with significant limitations. Copyright Act, § 110(2)
- TEACH Act Toolkit (University of North Carolina)
Can I get permission?
- Permissions (Columbia University Libraries)General information about obtaining permission from a copyright owner
- Model forms (Columbia University Libraries)
- Web linking agreement form (Stanford University Libraries)
- Creative Commons
- Textbook Alternatives
- Open License Media for Class Projects
- Copyright Clearance Center
- Swank, permission for non-classroom public performances of movies
- Library databases: Library databases already have permission to make the resources available online in an electronic format. You can avoid copyright questions by linking to the databases, specific articles or specific searches using durable links. For help with linking to the databases contact a MVCC librarian.
If you are looking for ebooks, articles, videos, and images that are (mostly) free to use, visit our Free eBooks, Images, Music and Video Research Guide.