According to the U.S. Copyright Office publication Copyright Basics, “copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.” Students and employees must comply with these copyright laws, as well as with the VSC Copyright Policy (416).
Watch this video from the Copyright Clearance Center to learn the basics about copyright in the electronic environment.
Fair Use is a part of copyright law (section 107 of U.S. Code Title 17) that allows exceptions to copyright law for the needs of students and teachers. Fair Use is a set of guidelines; there are no explicit rules or exact numbers. The factors to be considered in determining fair use are:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether it is for commercial or nonprofit educational purposes.
- the nature of the copyrighted material (type of material, i.e. periodical, film, book).
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the whole.
- the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyright material.
You can view a presentation about Fair Use & Copyright Law, hosted by David Sturges, Library Director for more information.
Guidelines for Fair Use:
- Photocopying for Classroom Use
- Fair Use and Online Learning
- Apply Fair Use in a Moodle Course
- Apply Fair Use to Media
- Additional Resources
Photocopying for Classroom Use
The Copyright Act of 1976 requires that photocopying for educational use be of a limited nature, determined by the brevity of the material, the spontaneity, and the cumulative effect of the creation. Brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect are defined as follows:
- Poetry: A complete poem, if it is less than 250 words and if it is printed on not more than two pages, or, from a longer poem, you may make an excerpt of not more than 250 words (this limitation may be exceeded to complete a line)
- Prose: Either a complete article, story or essay, if it is less than 2500 words, or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event, a minimum of 500 words (this limitation may be exceeded to complete a paragraph
- 3. Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture per book or per periodical provided that the individual item is not copyrighted
The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, AND the inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.
- Cumulative Effect
This phrase means the effect of copying on the marketability or profitability of the work.
- maintains institutional accreditation
- creates an institutional copyright policy
- provides copyright resources for faculty and students
- Make sure the portions of copyrighted material you are using in your course meet the standards of the Fair Use guidelines.
- Only connect students to content which has been obtained legally and has not been reproduced from an original.
- Put the copyrighted material in a section of your Moodle course site that is secured.
- Copyrighted material should be made available (using the Availability option on your content) for no more than a 15-day period, and students should be instructed to not make their own copies of the material but to read it online only.
- The performance must be performed by the instructor or pupil(s) (not by a performance artist).
- The instructor and pupil(s) must be in the same place (transmissions by television, etc., do not qualify here).
- The activity must be a teaching activity and not recreation or entertainment.
- The activity must be put on by a nonprofit educational institution.
- The activity must take place in a classroom or other area used as a classroom for systematic instructional activity.
- Digital Copyright Slider
- Copyright Clearance Center
- Copyright & Fair Use (Stanford Univ.)
- Public Domain (Univ. of North Carolina)
- Know Your Copy Rights (Association of Research Libraries)
- U.S. Copyright Office
- Teaching Copyright
- ALA Fair Use Guidelines
Fair Use & Online Learning
Fair Use guidelines also apply to online learning and distance learning environments, including closed circuit television or Moodle course management software. In addition to the guidelines of brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect, limited access and limited time are also important in distance education. Limited access means that only those enrolled in the class may have access to the material. Limited time means that the material will be available only during the time the class is given, typically one semester.
In 2002, the United States Congress passed the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) that updates copyright law pertaining to transmissions of performances and displays of copyrighted materials. Such transmissions are critical to distance education efforts and online courses. These updates, as specified in section 110(1) of the Copyright Act of 1976, allow educators permission to "perform" or "display" copyrighted works within a classroom setting or non-traditional online educational environment.
Under the TEACH Act, copyrighted material may be used as long as the institution:
Material referred to by the TEACH Act is only granted copyright compliance for ONE semester and cannot be retained for future use. Students must also be notified that material distributed or posted that course period may be subject to copyright protection. All copyrighted material that is distributed for classroom use should be labeled with the following:
NOTICE: THIS MATERIAL MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW
(Title 17 U.S. Code)
Apply Fair Use in a Moodle Course*
*Adapted from Blackboard Copyright, Fair Use, & Educational Multimedia FAQ.
Apply Fair Use to Media
Fair Use applies to all copyrighted works regardless of the media in which they are fixed: print, electronic, or multimedia. Frequently, college classes include the performance of audiotapes, CDs, DVDs, or videotapes. Showing or playing one of these items, whether purchased or rented, is considered a performance of the copyrighted work.
These activities are permitted if they meet all of the following guidelines:
In the case of performance of a videotape or movie, the copy of the work performed must have been lawfully made. For example, one cannot show an archival copy of a videotape since it would not have been made in accordance with the provisions of the copyright law.
Another common use of copyrighted media in academic situations is in the creation of a multimedia work. In general, students and instructors may create multimedia works for face-to-face instruction, directed self-study, or for remote instruction provided that the multimedia works are used only for educational purposes. Instructors may use their multimedia works for teaching courses for up to two years after the first use.