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.
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.
*This guide has been adapted from Copyright LibGuides at Clemson University and the University of Florida.
Allen Memorial Library collections include thousands of books, articles, streaming videos, and other materials to support your teaching without having to worry about copyright. You can also take advantage of videos, images, and other content made available online under Creative Commons licenses, which allow for reuse with attribution.
Fair use is especially crucial in an online learning environment where U.S. Copyright Law exemptions are more limited.
Fair use is an explicit part of copyright law that allows all of us to repurpose portions of copyright-protected works in the context of education and scholarship. Questions to consider as you upload materials for your students or create online lessons include:
There are a few ways to share materials while easily lowering your risk of copyright infringement: