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Allen Memorial Library Policies and Procedures Manual: Copyright

a collection of all policies and procedures for the VCSU Allen Memorial Library


Allen Memorial Library abides by the United States Copyright Law of 1909, revised in 1976 (US Public Law 94-553, General Revision of the Copyright Law). Copying not specifically allowed by the Copyright Law, Fair Use Doctrine, or proprietor’s permission is prohibited in the university Library. We also adhere to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which includes (but is not limited to), copyright issues that relate to online content including Internet resources and materials utilized for distance education and to University policy on campus copyright.
According to the US Copyright Office, copyright “is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of ‘original works of authorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.” It applies to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act gives the copyright owner “the exclusive right” to copy or prepare derivatives from works; distribute copies to the public; perform audiovisual works in public; and/or display literary, musical, dramatic and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works.
Fair Use establishes restrictions on those rights. It allows usage of materials when certain conditions have been met. Copying for purposes such as criticism, comments, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research are sometimes not an infringement of copyright. Several factors are considered in determining fair use: whether the use is educational rather than commercial; the nature of the work—whether it contains plans or designs meant to be used; whether it is work meant for public viewing; the percentage used from the entire work and whether it will decrease the market value of the work.
It is the position of the Library that the ultimate responsibility for copyright compliance belongs to the individual making the copy. When in doubt assume there is a violation of copyright law and contact the owner of copyright to request permission. Keep a copy of the request for permission and the permission granted. Library staff will assist in obtaining the necessary request forms and publishers’ addresses to request permission to copy. It is the individual’s responsibility, however, to complete the forms and contact the publisher.
Improper use of any copyrighted material may render educators liable to federal prosecution. Ignorance of the law is not defensible. Violations of the copyright law in teaching practices may subject the instructor and the institution to liability for actual and/or statutory damages. NDUS and institutional policies require adherence to copyright law.
Additional copyright information is located on the Library website and for a more comprehensive, up-to-date definition of copyright and fair use, as provided by the Copyright Office, see the US Copyright Office Web Site at
The Library makes every effort to abide by copyright law and ensure that the faculty, staff, students, and community borrowers are aware of copyright policies affecting library materials. To that end, Library staff can direct copy equipment use but individuals will make and be responsible for copying and for any resulting copyright violations.
Guidelines for Internet Use
The Internet contains a vast array of materials, some copyrighted and some in the public domain. Most copyright experts agree that the Fair Use Doctrine applies to students and educators gathering research off the Internet. However, very few clear, concise copyright guidelines exist for Internet materials so users should always exercise caution when printing and downloading materials from the Internet. Pay close attention to copyright notices on web pages, and assume that items without notices are copyrighted. When creating web pages obtain permission before reproducing part of other web pages onto your own. Always properly credit Internet sources. Individual Internet users may be held responsible for copyright infringement.
Providers of Internet service may also be held liable for copyright infringement. However, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), enacted by congress in 1998, offers some protection from copyright infringement to Internet Service Providers (ISP) who comply with the provisions of the Act. Colleges and universities are considered to be ISPs and are subject to the DMC.

Reviewed January 2023

Copyright Guidelines

copyright symbolMembers of the Valley City State University community, including faculty, students and staff, often have occasion to use copyrighted material in connection with their teaching, classroom assignments or research. The purpose of this guide is to promote the understanding of and compliance with applicable provisions of copyright law. It provides practical information in order to encourage and promote the lawful use of copyright protected materials. This guide is also intended to support compliance with VCSU's V480.05 Copyright Guidelines and V530.01 Academic Integrity Policies.

*This guide has been adapted from Copyright LibGuides at Clemson University and the University of Florida.

What is Copyright?

What is Copyright?

The U.S. Copyright Act (title 17 of the U.S. Code) is the federal statute that describes copyright law in the United States. Copyright protection applies to original works of authorship set in a tangible medium. Original works may include literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural and audiovisual creations. A tangible medium may include anything from paper to hard drives and other electronic memory devices, the web, film, software, architectural blueprints etc.

What is Protected?

What is protected under copyright?

Copyright protection is designed to give creators of original creative works the right to be compensated when others use their works in particular ways. It grants copyright holders with exclusive rights to the reproduction, adaptation (preparation of derivative works such as a translation or adaptation of a movie from a book), publication, performance and display of the work publicly. Today, copyright protection is automatic, so no registration, use of the copyright symbol, or notice is required. However, use of the copyright symbol is recommended because it reminds the public that the work is protected. Copyright registration is required before a lawsuit for copyright infringement can be filed. If the copyright is timely registered, the copyright owner can also recover statutory damages and costs and attorney fees which can be significant in an infringement lawsuit.