Copyright and Fair Use as they relate to education have been in continuous flux as our society is faced with new ways of copying and distributing material and new technology making new ways of teaching possible.
The following tabs contain an an overview of what you need to know, some FAQs and additional resources. It is not to be taken as legal advice.
Attribution: Unless otherwise noted information is adapted from "Copyright, Fair Use, TEACH ACT, Creative Commons" By Tosca O. Gonsalves, Electronic and Database Services Librarian Ozuna Library at Palo Alto College.
Basics of Copyright:
There are several levels of CC license:
Using library resources at NVC:
Images: People often overlook copyright in using images; just because the image is all over the web doesn’t mean it is in the public domain. Here is an infographic on the use of images.
If a work is out of print, can I make copies without worrying about copyright?
Out of print doesn’t mean in the public domain or that there really are no copies available anywhere. You should still do a Fair Use evaluation before proceeding – non availability speaks in favor of fair use, but the other factors should still be considered.
Can I use my student’s work in a presentation without permission?
As the creator of the work, the student owns the copyright, even if it was done for a class. Always get a student’s written permission to use their work and make sure it includes how the work is to be used, for how long, and any other terms. The permission is for that use only, it is not a transfer of copyright, unless the owner explicitly puts it in the agreement. We have a Permission to Use Student Paper Letter available and while it constructed for using a student paper as example in the reserve collection, it can be used as a model.
Can a student use an image from the web in a class presentation that will not be posted on the web or published?
Students should adhere to copyright and fair use; the Student Code of Conduct and Alamo Colleges policies prohibit violations of copyright.
What if I cannot find a copyright owner or his/her contact information to ask for permission?
The Copyright Clearinghouse and the U.S.Copyright Office can help. There is continuing discussion in the legal world regarding “orphan works” (unknown or unfindable authors), but until anything is decided it is best to use the Fair Use evaluation.
If I just link to documents/information I’m safe right?
In general linking is safer than embedding, but it is still important to do a careful evaluation. You don’t want to link to something that was posted on the web in violation of copyright.
Can I print and give copies of an article I have to my students?
It is OK to distribute print copies of an article or other part of a work to your students, but there are limitations. It should be limited in number of copies/students (so your classes is OK, but not the whole English department) and frequency; one time (considering there may not have been time to ask for permission) is OK, every semester is not. Again, let the Fair Use evaluation be your guide.
The textbook for my class has not arrived at the bookstore, can I place copies of the first two chapters on reserve at the library
Fair use does not apply to material required for class. You may however put a copy of the textbook on reserve in the reserve.
I have a collection of articles that I want to use in my class. Can I sell them as a course pack to my students or have the copy shop sell them?
Only if you have permission from the copyright owner of each and every article.
Can I show a movie in class?
This is generally considered fair use, as long as you are using a legal copy AND the movie is een integral part of the course and not entertainment.
Can I digitize a movie I own and put it online for my online class? Can I make a copy of a VHS I or my department owns and show in class?
Only the copyright owner has the right to make copies/reproductions and you only own a copy. So the short answer is No. Libraries have limited rights to digitize movies or make archival copies; the library can also help you find a streaming video of the movie that you can use.
A student organization/my department is having an event for our students. Can we show a movie?
Even if the event is on campus, organized by school organization, no fee is charged, and only students are invited, this generally does not fall under fair use. You would either have to ask for permission or get a copy with public performance rights. The library can help you find a DVD/streaming video with public performance rights.