Copyright Basics

(Summarized from “Fair Use Guidelines for Educators”)

Duration:  The duration of a copyright is the life of the known creator, plus 70 years.

Public Domain:  Once the copyright has expired, the work is in the public domain and it is not necessary to obtain permission from the owner. The copyright owner can place the work in the public domain.

Fair Use Guidelines:

A person may make a single copy, for his own use, of an article, short written work, graphic or book chapter.

An instructor may make enough copies of a short work for each student’s class use, IF:

  1. A copyright notice is applied to the item
  2. There is not enough time to request permission from the copyright owner (it is a spontaneous act)
  3. It is a brief portion of the item:
    1. A poem of less than 250 words and no more than 2 pages, or no more than 250 words from a longer poem.
    2. A story of less than 2500 words, or the lesser of no more than 1000 words or 10% of a longer work.

The materials copied may NOT be used to defer cost to the students. If copying the work prevents the author/copyright owner from receiving a profit, it is a violation of copyright law.

An instructor may use the item once. However, if the item is to be used for future classes, the instructor MUST request permission from the copyright owner and pay any fees for use. This applies to videos, as well as printed materials.

Recorded Videos

If you record a television program, you may use it in your class. However, keep in mind:

  1. An individual teacher may show the recording to his/her class only once during the 10 school days after it is aired on television.
  2. The recording may only be kept for 45 days after it is aired on television, after which it must be erased.
  3. The individual teacher must record the program his/herself.
  4. The recording must contain the copyright notice portion of the broadcast.
  5. If the individual teacher wants to use the recorded program for future classes, he/she must purchase a copy for instructional use.

Using Articles in Web Courses

Use the databases!

  1. Provide a link to the Randolph C. Watson Library homepage. Tell the student the database in which they can find the article.
  2. You may provide a link to the database article ONLY if access will be limited to Web students. You may NOT provide links directly to articles from a non-restricted website.
  3. You MUST provide a copyright notice as part of the web class.

Enghagen, Linda K., compiler. Fair Use Guidelines for Educators, 4th ed. Distributed by Sloan-C, : 2005.