From the web site for the World Intellectual Property Organization:
"Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs. "
Copyright law gives the owner of the work the exclusive right to reproduce it, prepare derivatives, distribute it, and perform or display it publicly. For works created after March 1, 1989, the owner neither needs to place a copyright notice on it nor register the copyright. It is protected automatically unless the owner specifically places it in the Public Domain.
Fair use doctrine is the only exception to a copyright holder's sole right of reproduction. Exceptions are made for the purposes of teaching, research and comment. Fair use involves four factors:
- the purpose of the use; it should not be commercial in nature; it can be for non-profit educational purposes;
- the nature of the work;
- the portion of the work used;
- the effects of the use on the market for the work.
Important: It is a misconception to believe that, as an educator, you can use as much of a copyrighted work as often as you like just as long as it is for the purpose of educating.
There are limitations. As an example, in regards to a printed work that is longer than 2,500 words, you may make an excerpt of 10 percent of the work or 1,000 words, whichever is less. Circular 21 of the United States Copyright Office explains how much you can use as an educator.
- Heterick Library has a section explaining basic copyright law and fair use
- Stanford Universitiy Library - Copyright and Fair Use Guide
- Article, "Ownership of electronic course materials in higher eduation"
- Copyright Compliance Made Simple: Six Rules for Course Design by Linda K. Enghagen, J.D. This pamphlet can be purchased www.sloan-c.org
- Article in Lex Collegii, Vol. 29, No. 3, Winter 2006 entitled, "Fair Use: From Coursepacks to File Sharing
- A book entitled, Fair Use Guidelines for Educators, 4th Ed. by Linda K. Enghagen.
- An animated movie on Copyright and Fair Use.
Warnings and Precautions:
- In regards to coursepacks: It is the faculty member at ONU who is responsible for acquiring the copyright permission or finding a method to pay for royalties for anything which falls outside of fair use. Also, the faculty member is responsible for documenting this. Note: The Heterick Library does subscribe to the Copyright Clearance Center and may be able to help in attaining permission to use materials for reserve.
- Be careful about how much copyrighted material you post in online course web sites, even if they are password protected. Follow fair-use guidelines as closely here as you would for print.
- For distance learning, faculty members may only show short clips (3 minutes or 10%, whichever is less) of a dramatic audio-visual work. Whereas a faculty member teaching face-to-face would be permitted to show the full work.
- Courts can award $150,000 for willful violation of copyright, and both individuals and universities can be liable.
This page is not a legal document. It is presented for informational purposes.