Oglethorpe University supports and promotes the use and application of the copyright laws of the United States, fully recognizes and adheres to the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act and seeks to utilize and interpret the fair use provisions where ever necessary when promoting educational based activities requiring the sharing of materials. The University requires that all faculty, staff and students comply. Members of the university community who violate copyright law will be liable for their infringement. Infringement of copyright law can result in criminal and civil liability and statutory damages in excess of $150,000 for each work.
The University recognizes the “fair use provisions” allowing certain use of copyrighted materials without permission for purposes that include teaching, scholarship and research.
To further assist in best practices, the following information is provided for the campus in order to understand and more accurately comply with the copyright laws.
With the addition of Moodle and its applications, the TEACH ACT is also included in the campus copyright policy. The link to and provisions concerning the TEACH ACT are part of the sections following the introduction.
The TEACH ACT (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization) Act of 2002
Please read and be familiar with this ACT and its relationship to online class content. “Most of the TEACH requirements are designed to allow transmission of copyrighted works (or parts thereof) to a legitimate student audience for a limited time, without permission or license fees, while preventing dissemination that could undermine the market for the works.” (from New Copyright Law for Distance Education: The Meaning and Importance of the TEACH Act prepared by Kenneth D. Crews. http://www.copyright.iupui.edu/teach_summary.htm)
For a comprehensive overview of the TEACH ACT use the link below to the North Carolina State University Libraries’ TEACH toolkit. The second link provides a summary.
Highlights of the TEACH ACT as it pertains to use of copyrighted materials in distance education and online course content
- The materials should be used only for instructional purposes as an integral part of the course session.
- The course materials should be accessible only to students in the course, for the duration of the course, through a secure, a password protected course Web site or through a password protected course management system.
- Reasonable controls should be employed to prevent downloading and distributing the material by students.
- The copy of the material used must be lawfully made and lawfully acquired.
- Materials may not be digitized if they are already available in a digital format.
What is Fair Use?
As stated in section 107 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code:
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
What does "the nature of the copyrighted work" mean?
The nature of the copyrighted work refers to whether a work is artistic and creative or whether it is factual in nature. A factual work would be viewed more favorably than an artistic and creative work under the "nature of the copyrighted work" factor of the Fair Use analysis.
If the book I want to use is out of print then there is no effect on the market, right?
The fourth factor of the Fair Use analysis, "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work," has been treated by the courts as one of the most important factors. Even if a work is out of print there can still be an adverse effect on the potential market, as a publisher may wish to explore other distribution options for the work in the future.
Maintain a record of your Fair Use analysis with the Checklist for Fair Use.
The Weltner library has not set any minimum guidelines to be followed, but instead encourages faculty members to take a liberal approach to fair use while still operating within the law. However, Classroom Guidelines do exist and, while many feel these guidelines are overly restrictive, a faculty member can feel confident that he or she is not violating copyright law when these guidelines are followed. The following guidelines are from the University of Texas Copyright Crash Course.
- Classroom Guidelines for the Copying of Books and Periodicals
- Guidelines for Educational Uses of Music
- Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia
- Educational Fair Use Guidelines for Digital Images
[It should be noted that neither the Mulitimedia Guidelines nor the Digital Images Guidelines were approved by the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) participants. However, they still prove helpful for those seeking guidance with regard to the creation of multimedia projects or the use of digital images.]
Obtaining Permission to Use Copyrighted Materials
If the use of a work falls outside Fair Use, and the work is not in the public domain, then you must obtain copyright permission.
- If the work in question is a book or a journal article, try the Copyright Clearance Center first. They can get permission to use millions of work in print and digital formats.
- If the work in question is a movie, then try The Motion Picture Licensing Corporation, Movie Licensing USA, or Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. They all grant public performance rights.
- You can also contact the publisher directly. You can find some sample permission letters through the University of Texas Copyright Crash Course and The IUPUI Copyright Management Center.
More information on obtaining permission to use copyrighted materials can be found at:
Copyright questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information contained in this site is for general guidance only and should not be considered legal advice. This information is not a substitute for consultation with a professional legal advisor.