Skip to main content

Libguide, SELU Sims memorial library

Ask a Librarian
Hours

Copyright Guide

A primer on copyright law and fair use

Classroom Copying/Coursepacks

In 1976, Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-for-Profit Educational Institutions with Respect to Books and Periodicals (located on the U.S. Copyright Office web site at: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/, Circular 21: Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians), representing agreements between authors, educators, and publishers, were congressionally endorsed in H.R. 2223. These guidelines provide minimum standards for educational fair use of books and articles only. For more information on music and audiovisual works, see music and multimedia works in this document.

The guidelines permit educators to reproduce:

  • single copies of:
    a chapter from a book
    an article from a periodical or newspaper
    a short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not it is from a collective work
    a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper

  • multiple copies for classroom use if:
    the copy is limited to no more then one copy per student in a course
    the copying meets the test of brevity and
    the copying meets the test of spontaneity and
    meets the cumulative effect and
    each copy includes notice of copyright

The guidelines prohibit educators from:

  • copying to replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works, e.g. coursepacks
  • copying of or from works intended to be “consumable” in the course of study or of teaching, e.g. workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets and like consumable material
  • copying that substitutes for the purchase of books, publisher’s reprints or periodicals
  • copying of the same item by the same teacher repeatedly from term to term

In addition, the Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-for-Profit Educational Institutions with Respect to Books and Periodicals provides guiding principles for meeting the test of brevity, spontaneity and cumulative effect as follows:

Brevity
Poetry
A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or
An excerpt of not more than 250 words from a longer poem

Prose
Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words or
An excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.
Each of the numerical limits stated above may be expanded to permit completion of an unfinished line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph.

Illustration
One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.

“Special” works
Certain works in poetry, prose, or in “poetic prose” which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety. Not including poetry as described above, “special” works may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than 10% of the words found in the text thereof may be reproduced.

Spontaneity

  • The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and
  • The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative Effect

  • The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
  • Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
  • There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during the class term.
  • The limitations stated above shall not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.

Music

The Guidelines for Educational Uses of Music (which can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office web site in Circular 21: Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians, are not a part of Copyright Law, but are helpful in determining when copying of music is allowed. These guidelines, also contained in the Copyright Information Binder on Reserve in Sims Memorial Library, are as follows:

Sheet music and recordings

  • Sheet Music Copying for Performance – emergency copying is allowed only if the purchased copies are not available for an imminent performance. The photocopies must then be destroyed.
  • Sheet Music Copying for Academic Purposes – single or multiple copies of excerpts may be made if less than 10% of the whole work is copied and if it is not a performable unit such as a selection, movement, or aria. The number of copies shall not exceed one copy per pupil.
  • Purchased music may be edited if the fundamental character of the work is not distorted or the lyrics altered or added if none exist.
  • A single copy of an entire performable unit can be made if it is out of print or unavailable except in a larger work. It cannot be used for performance.
  • A single copy of a sound recording owned by the university or instructor may be made for aural exercises or tests, and may be retained by the university or faculty member. (This pertains to the copyright of the music itself and not to any copyright that may exist in the sound recording.)
  • A single copy of a student performance may be made for study and for the archives.

Sheet music copying that is prohibited

  • You cannot copy to create, replace, or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works.
  • You cannot copy to avoid purchase.
  • You cannot copy without the inclusion of the copyright notice.

Music recording for educational use 

  • Portions of a copyrighted musical composition may be reproduced, performed or displayed if it is:
  • in the course of face-to-face teaching activities,
  • by an instructor or student,
  • in a classroom or similar place devoted to teaching activities,
  • limited to portions that do not include the essence of the piece in its entirety.

Instructors who wish to use musical compositions must make sure that the items reproduced, performed or displayed are obtained legally. While the
instructor is allowed to make a copy of musical materials for display or performance in the classroom setting, the instructor may not keep a personal copy of the material, nor make an additional copy for a student. The law only allows for personal copies of personally purchased music items, for personal use only.

Music recording for usage in distance education 
As long as the work is provided under the direction of a teacher, is directly related to the teaching content of the lesson and presented in limited portions that do not include the essence of the piece in its entirety, distance education classes may use music recordings. The one additional caveat is that teachers using music recordings in a distance environment must make a reasonable effort to disallow student copying of the material. This may include password protecting the distance education class pages and setting up login systems for students taking the course. See Distance Learning – Performance and Display in this document for more information on use of copyrighted works in distance education.

Copying and distribution of recorded music
Making a full-length copy of a purchased piece of music for any reason other than personal use, including classroom use, is strictly forbidden by the Copyright Act of 1996, Chapter 10: Digital Audio Recording Devices and Media. This chapter is also known as the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992. (Full text is available at: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/.)

The act further prohibits any distribution of copyrighted music. All copies made of a purchased piece of music must be for private use, except for small portions (as noted above), which are allowed for classroom use under the fair use exception.

Posting of full-length music copies on Internet sites, including distance-learning classes, is prohibited. Distance education classes, again under the TEACH Act, may use snippets of a song as long as it is related to a teaching activity, it does not include the essence of the piece in its entirety, only those students enrolled in the class have access to the material, and the instructor has made reasonable effort to prevent students from copying the material. See Distance Learning – Performance and Display in this document for more information on use of copyrighted works in distance education.

Music Performances
Southeastern holds ASCAP, BMI and SESAC license agreements allowing for music performances of copyrighted musical compositions. The licenses are limited to non-dramatic performances and do not include concert performances of any “dramatico-musical work” (compositions that are a part of a musical comedy, opera, play with music, revue or ballet). Included in the agreement are performances by means of the University Internet, University radio broadcasting station and the University closed circuit and cable television system. In addition, The Southeastern Channel has its own music library purchased through a publishing house. Music performances are reported by The Southeastern Channel, KSLU and by the Department of Music and Dramatic Arts to the appropriate licensing agencies as outlined by the license agreement. For more information on reporting requirements and music performances covered by the licensing agreements, please review the license agreements located in the Office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance. Permissions for dramatic performances must be individually negotiated.

Additional information on the use of copyrighted music in the educational setting can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office in Circular 21: Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians

Computer Software

Commercial computer software listed as freeware or shareware can be copied, but cannot be altered. Commercial computer software not listed as freeware or shareware is protected against unauthorized copying and use by copyright law and other intellectual property laws and treaties. These laws and treaties grant the author, typically the publisher of the program, a number of exclusive rights, most importantly the right to make copies of the software. Software is copied when it is installed on the hard disk of a computer or when it is loaded in the computer’s memory. Copying software without the permission of the author is “copyright infringement,” for which the law imposes penalties.

Software piracy is the unauthorized copying, reproduction, use, or manufacture of software product(s). Academic product misuse occurs when software manufactured, licensed, and specifically marked for distribution to educational institutions and students at reduced prices is diverted into normal commercial channels of distribution. Typically academic software products will contain a sticker indicating that it is for use only by educational institutions. Educational institutions that purchase software products must follow all license agreement rules.

The license agreement may be found in one of several different locations, depending on the product. The three most common locations for the license agreement are:

  • printed on a separate piece of paper that accompanies the product;
  • printed in the User’s Manual; or
  • located online within the software product.

The license agreement also contains information regarding backup copies of software.

License agreements may be included in on-line or hard copy form. In addition, hard-copy license agreements are usually distributed. The primary user of the computer on which the software product is installed may usually make a second copy for his or her exclusive use on a portable computer. If the license agreement does not contain this provision, then one may not make a second copy of the software. The “primary user” is the individual using the computer most of the time it is in use. Only that individual is entitled to use the second copy. Further, the software must be installed on the local hard drive of his or her computer; one is not entitled to make and use a second copy on his or her portable computer if he or she runs the primary copy of the software from a network server. Finally, only one secondary copy may be made; an individual may not install this copy on more than one portable computer.

Other than products acquired under a special licensing program, most legally licensed products contain a hard copy license agreement, which is the primary proof of legally acquired product. It is strongly recommended that license cards are retained for every copy of each product that comes with a hard copy license agreement. For copies of software products that contain on-line license agreements, the sales receipt demonstrating that license purchase should be retained. It is also recommend that the original user’s manual, the product disks and certificate are kept.

Multimedia Works & Off-The-Air Recordings

Proposed Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia were developed at the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) in 1996. Although these guidelines are not law and were not universally endorsed, they do provide some guidance for educators and researchers at educational institutions. The guidelines only allow for creating unique multimedia works, and not multiple copies of the works.

Educational multimedia projects addressed in these guidelines are defined as works that:

  • incorporate students’ or educators’ original material, such as course notes or commentary, together with
  • various portions of copyrighted media formats which are lawfully acquired but not limited to motion media, music, text material, graphics, illustrations, photographs and digital software which are combined into an integrated presentation.

Educators may perform and display their own educational multimedia projects created for curriculum-based instruction to students in the following situations:

  • face-to-face instruction,
  • assignment to students for directed self-study,
  • for remote instruction to students enrolled in curriculum-based courses and located at remote sites

If a network or technology is used to access the projects, technological measures should be taken to prevent duplication and to limit access.

Educators may also perform or display their multimedia projects at workshops and conferences and retain the materials for personal portfolios.

The Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia include some time, portion, and format (motion media, text, music, lyrics, and music video, illustrations, photographs, and numerical data sets) limitations, and should be consulted for further information. The Conference on Fair Use - Final Report to the Commissioner on the Conclusion of the Conference on Fair Use, November 1998. 

While the guidelines below may be useful in adhering to copyright laws, it is best to check with the copyright holder before using multimedia works in the classroom to be sure how copyright applies to the work and what allotments are permitted. 

Audiovisual works
''Audiovisual works'' as defined in copyright law, are works that consist of a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines, or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment, together with accompanying sounds, if any, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as films or tapes, in which the works are embodied.

Section 110 of the Copyright Act allows the use of copyrighted audiovisual materials:

  • in the course of face-to-face teaching activities.
  • by an instructor or student.
  • in a classroom or similar place devoted to teaching activities.

You may not use audiovisual materials when it is:

  • used for entertainment or recreational purposes and unrelated to a teaching activity.
  • transmitted by radio or television from an outside location (such as closed circuit from another building).
  • shown to an audience other than students or instructors, even when students or instructors are present.
  • illegally acquired or duplicated.

A fair use blanket permission does not apply to audiovisual elements (See Section 106 & 106A of the Copyright Act, Chapter 1: Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright on the U.S. Copyright Office web site at: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/). Instructors who wish to use audiovisual materials must make sure that the items shown are obtained legally and are being used within any time limits or portion limits set by the copyright holder.

While the instructor is allowed to make a copy of audiovisual materials for display or performance in the classroom setting, the instructor may not keep a personal copy of the material, nor make an additional copy for a student. The law only allows for personal copies of personally purchased audiovisual items, for personal use only. Long-term copies of audiovisual items may only be kept by libraries and resource centers. (For more information see Section 108 of the Copyright Act, Chapter 1: Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright, on the U.S. Copyright Office website at: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/).

Use of audiovisual material in distance education
As long as the guidelines above for use of audiovisual materials are met, distance education classes may display audiovisual materials. The one additional caveat is that a teacher using audiovisual materials in a distance environment must make a reasonable effort to disallow student copying of the material. This may include password protecting the distance education class pages and setting up login systems for students taking the course. 

Videotaping and off-the-air recording
The use of videotape for classroom instruction is allowed as long as the work is presented:
in the course of face-to-face teaching activities,
by an instructor or student,
in a classroom or similar place devoted to teaching activities.

Knowing that copyright law is rather noncommittal on which videotapes are allowed and which are not, in 1979 Congressman Robert Kastenmeier created a series of guidelines, sometimes referred to as the “10/45 rules,” for using “off-the-air,” “public broadcast,” and “For Home Use Only” videotapes for educational purposes. Essentially, the 10/45 rules state that:

  • videotapes may be kept for up to 45 days after the recording date.
  • videotapes may be shown to students only during the first 10 days after the recording date; it may be repeated once for reinforcement.
  • recordings must contain a notice of copyright as broadcast.
  • off-the-air recordings may be made at the request of an instructor, and only one copy can be made per instructor. Recordings cannot be made in anticipation of an instructor’s request.
  • duplicate copies can be made if several instructors request the same recording.
  • after the first 10 days allowed for showing, recordings can only be used for evaluation purposes.
  • recordings cannot be edited or combined with other works.

Instructors may use audiovisual materials aired on The Southeastern Channel as long as the above guidelines are followed and the instructor notifies The Southeastern Channel. Instructors are asked to identify what material is being used and how the material is being used in classroom instruction for documentation purposes by The Southeastern Channel.

Additional information on Kastenmeier’s Guidelines can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office web site in Circular 21: Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians

Public broadcast programs
Public Broadcasting Service, Public Television Library, Great Plains National Instructional Television Library, and Agency for Instructional Television allow educators to videotape their programs off-the-air under these conditions:

  • The recording is made by students or instructors in accredited, nonprofit educational institutions.
  • The recording may be used only for instruction in a classroom, lab, or auditorium. (Not restricted to one classroom or instructor)
  • 23
  • The recording is not shared outside of the school.
  • The recording may be used as often as needed for seven days and must then be erased.

Instructors may use public broadcast programs aired on The Southeastern Channel as long as the above guidelines are followed and the instructor notifies The Southeastern Channel. Instructors are asked to identify what material is being used and how the material is being used in classroom instruction for documentation purposes by The Southeastern Channel.

“For home-use only” videotapes
Rented videotapes often carry the warning “FOR HOME USE ONLY,” which raises the question of whether the rented videotapes may be used in the classroom. If the videotape has been cleared for public performance, there is no problem using it in the classroom.

The gray area revolves around whether a classroom is a public place. The debate over this question will continue until a court case resolves it. In the meantime, a review of literature indicates that an instructor could show home-use-only videotapes in a classroom with the reasoning that educators have the right to display or perform works in face-to-face teaching situations, as long as the video tape meets an instructional goal and is not entertainment for the students.

Companies that have come about following Kastenmeier’s Guidelines have started using certain coding to state the level of permission allowed for videotape display. The following list of codes are being used by “Cable in the Classroom” and other videotape services:
      FREE: Unrestricted use of tape for educational uses.
      3 YR.: Show within 3 years.
      YEAR: Show within one year.
      SEM: Show during the semester in which the program was taped.
      FAIR: Fair Use: Show within 10 days; tape may be saved for 45 days.
      WEEK: Show within seven days.
      RES: Restricted: May be taped for home use only. Tapes may not be replayed publicly in school.
      NA: Information not available at press time.

In all cases, if there is any doubt regarding copyright permissions, contact the videotape copyright holder for clarification.

Research Copies

The Model Policy Concerning College and University Photocopying for Classroom, Research and Library Reserve (1978) was developed by the American Library Association, and includes guidance for librarians, faculty and administrators for copying for scholarly research or use in teaching or preparing to teach a class. At the very least, instructors may make a single copy of any of the following:

  • a chapter from a book,
  • an article from a periodical or newspaper,
  • a short story, short essay, or short poem, whether or not from a collective work,
  • a chart, diagram, graph, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper.

Images

“Image archives” is defined as a collection of images of art, architecture, photographs, slides, graphics or other reproductions in texts. These may be collected from a variety of formats and reproduced digitally on various media, e.g. CD-ROMS, web sites, etc. Guidelines for the collection and use of digital images by educational institutions, educators, scholars, and students were developed and proposed at the CONFU conference in 1996. While the Educational Fair Use Guidelines for Digital Images (located in the Final Report to the Commissioner at the Conclusion of the Fair Use Conference, November 1998, at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/confu/confurep.htm) are not law and were not universally endorsed, they do provide some guidance for educators and researchers at educational institutions on the collection and use of digital images.

Under these guidelines educators may:

  • display digital images for educational purposes, including: face-to-face teaching of curriculum-based courses, and research and scholarly activities at a non-profit educational institution.
  • compile digital images for display on the institution’s secure electronic network to students enrolled in a course given by that educator for classroom use, after-class review, or directed study, during the semester or term in which the educator’s related course is given.
  • use or display digital images in connection with lectures or presentations in their fields, including uses at non-commercial professional development seminars, workshops, and conferences where educators meet to discuss issues relevant to their disciplines or present works they created for educational purposes in the course of research, study, or teaching.

The guidelines do not cover reproducing and publishing images in publications, including scholarly publications in print or digital form, for which permission is generally required.

Some specific additional guidelines for students included in the Educational Fair Use Guidelines for Digital Images allow students to:

  • use digital images in course assignment work and fulfillment of degree requirements.
  • publicly display academic work incorporating digital images in courses in which they are registered and in formal critiques by nonprofit educational institutions.
  • retain academic work in a personal portfolio for later use such as graduate school or employment applications.

The guidelines also indicate that educational institutions should simultaneously conduct the process of seeking permission to retain and use the images when creating digital images from analog sources, print, slide, photographs, and so on. Educators, researchers and students should first check with the Library for images in digital format, as the University may already hold a license and have the image available in digital format. The guidelines only allow digitizing images without permission if:

  • it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.
  • images digitized for spontaneous use do not automatically become part of the institution’s image collection.
  • permission is sought for any reuse of such digitized images or their addition to the institution’s image collection.