This procedure offers guidelines for evaluating materials for copyright infringement, and the process for requesting copyright clearance. Copyright law is often ambiguous and constantly evolves from court decisions on test cases, but there are general trends to consider.
It is recognized that restrictions on reproducing copyrighted material can be circumvented by individual staff members independently using copying devices. However, under the copyright law the college has liability for merely making the copying equipment available; the supervisor or administrator has liability for allowing copying to occur; and the individual has liability for illegal use of copyrighted materials. References: Copyright Law of the United States of America (Title 17); Report 94-1476, House of Representatives, 94th Congress, 2nd Session: Copyright Law Revision; Current articles and references on copyright from the American Library Association and The Bowker Annual of Library and Book Trade Information.
Copyright law has legal implications for print and media material but also for developing technologies (e.g., optical disks, videodiscs, fiber optics, satellite transmissions, computer software, and online databases). Copyright implications must be considered whenever new technologies are incorporated into college operations. (See also Copyrighted Materials: Off-Air Recording of Broadcasts).
Copyright law is often ambiguous and constantly evolves from court decisions on test cases, but there are general trends to consider.
- Persons exceeding the limitations on exclusive rights or the intent of published guidelines such as The Fair Use Doctrine, especially when reproducing material has an economic impact on the copyright owner's potential market, may be in violation of copyright.
The criteria for Fair Use affects the reproduction of copyrighted materials for such purposes as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.
The criteria that determine Fair Use include the following:
- The purpose and character of the use. This includes such factors as the difference between commercial and nonprofit educational uses, criteria for brevity and spontaneity, and if the use is a violation by the instructor or results from direction by the institution.
- The nature of the copyrighted work. A new article from a current newspaper or a portion of a book is judged differently than a score from a musical composition, a play, a textbook, a consumable (i.e., a workbook), a motion picture, or a videocassette.
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. This allows extracts or portions, but not multiple copies of the work for repetitive or continual use.
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work. Caution is advised to avoid fees or charges for copied materials.
All factors are important, but it is generally considered that the last criteria (d) is the most important. The basic intent of the law refers not to copying, but to the abuse of the privilege.
- The permissible scope of scholarly copying has become narrow as determined by Copyright Office Policy and their subsequent recommendations to Congress. This is reflected in Title 17, United States Code Article 107-Limitations on Exclusive Rights: Fair Use.
- The development of new technologies is creating copyright controversies that most often result in a process of litigation, negotiation and finally, guideline development. Sections 107 (Fair Use) and 108 (Reproduction by Libraries and Archives) have impact on new technologies incorporated into educational institutions and have caused conflict with educators and librarians versus publishers and copyright owners.
The following procedures are established to ensure compliance with the copyright law.
- No college employee shall independently reproduce copyrighted materials without written permission from the copyright holder.
- The Library, Distance Learning and Printing/Graphics will not reproduce copyrighted material without a copyright clearance, except as permitted in the limitations provisions of the copyright law or in the published guidelines on copyright. The responsibility for securing the copyright clearance rests with the individual requesting the service. A clearance must be on file or presented at the time of the request for reproduction. If not, the requestor will be asked to sign a statement that they are assuming total responsibility for copyright infringement.
- The Library will place on reserve one copy of copyrighted material unless multiple copies are purchased. The law allows only one copy for reserve without copyright clearance, but students may make a copy for their own individual use.
Clearance should be requested for copyrighted materials, including:
- Printed materials, music, pictures, graphs, drawings, charts, and maps;
- Audiotapes and cassettes, sound-tracks and off-air radio recordings;
- Videotapes, videocassettes, recordings of video broadcast programming, pictures and slides; and
- Computer programs, compact discs and other materials from developing technologies for which copyright may be obtained.
The Library has copies of a document on file in Purchasing Services which contains suggestions and procedures for faculty and staff who wish to write for copyright clearance.
Writing For Copyright Clearance
The copyright multiple copying guidelines on spontaneity, cumulative effect and prohibitions for classroom use and other guidelines encourage instructors to write for copyright clearance. One guideline suggests that the same item cannot be used from term to term without permission.
- Write for permission to copy or duplicate rather than using the telephone. You must have written documentation in your files. If permission is secured by telephone in emergencies, always request written permission and follow up with written correspondence to confirm the oral permission.
- Allow plenty of lead time for a copyright owner to process your request. Even if you plead the necessity for immediate permission because your course begins next week and the materials may not contain the authority to grant permission to reproduce, it may take time for the copyright owner to carefully check the exact material requested.
- Request to be informed of the names and addresses of the third parties who may have copyright control. This will enable you to contact the copyright holder(s). This often applies to audiovisual materials.
- It is not advisable to request blanket permission unless absolutely necessary. This type of request may require a licensing agreement and require fees and legal contracts. Be as specific as possible in your request.
- Request information about the conditions that apply to the use of the material. Often, it may be as simple as including a notice of copyright on the copies.
- Be certain to include your complete return address. It is often advisable to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope to receive a reply. State in your letter that you have enclosed the envelope.
- Your letter should include a phrase indicating that copies or duplicates are for "limited educational use within the college" and are not for mass production, exchange or resale. This is particularly appropriate for audiovisual materials.
- You should send two copies of your letter. State in your letter that one copy of your letter is for their files. Your letter should conclude with the following legend:
- Permission granted:__________________________Date______
- Conditions, if any: ___________________________Date______Signature
- Check and recheck your request for accuracy. If you submit an accurate and complete request, the response may be returned more rapidly.
Your request should include the following information.
- Correct title of the material.
- Exact description of the material to be used. For text material, provide page numbers and the exact quote (words from the beginning and end of the quote may be sufficient). If requesting use of visuals from a film, filmstrip or slide program, frame numbers should be cited if possible.
- State the type of reproduction. If materials are to be changed from one format to another, give the reason for the change.
- Number of copies to be made.
- Use of the reproduced material.
- Distribution of reproduced materials. This includes the site of use, the number of persons, the number of campuses or buildings, the level (e.g., elementary, higher education), and the equipment to be used if the material is audiovisual.
- Whether or not there is to be a charge for viewing or if the material is to be sold.
Obtaining permission to use audiovisual materials is more complicated because there are rights for the use of copyrighted texts; the use of visuals; and the use of music and voices. Often producers have obtained only the production rights from third parties and therefore do not have the right to permit duplication or reproduction.