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Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.
This page is intended to provide general information and resources regarding current copyright practices.
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.
Whether intentional or not, copyright infringement is theft of Intellectual property and carries significant legal consequences for both individuals and the institutions for which they work. It occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or is incorporated into another (derivative) work without the permission of the copyright owner.
Permission to use protected material can be retained through a simple six-step process.
If a work is protected by copyright, it may still be possible to legally use it. Permission can be granted by the copyright owner in the form of a license or release. Excellent resources to determine this are the Copyright Clearance Center and the United States Copyright Office.
The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published and the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first.
The doctrine of fair use (Section 107 of the copyright law) contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:
If all of the statements below are true, this may be considered Fair Use
The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act (2002) facilitates and enables the performance and display of copyrighted materials for distance education by accredited, non-profit educational institutions. Its primary purpose is to balance the needs of distance learners and educators with the rights of copyright holders.
If all of the statements below are true, use may be considered within the guidelines of the Teach Act of 2001.
LCC is a nonprofit institution engaged in instruction, research, or scholarly activities for educational purposes. Educational fair use guidelines apply to material used in such institutions.
The public domain is not a place. A work of authorship is in the public domain if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.
Rules for Reproducing Text Materials for Use in Class
The guidelines were not intended to allow teachers to usurp the profits of educational publishers. In other words, educational publishers do not consider it a fair use if the copying provides replacements or substitutes for the purchase of books, reprints, periodicals, tests, workbooks, anthologies, compilations, or collective works.