The following scenarios are to assist faculty in making sound copyright decisions when developing course content.
In light of the transition to online instruction during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the question of fair use and copy right with course materials naturally arises in instruction. Please reference the “Public Statement of Library Copyright Specialists: Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research” in answering copyright concerns during this time.
What materials can be copied, performed or distributed in the classroom without obtaining permission?
• Works in the public domain, including works for which the copyright has expired.
• Photographs that are exact reproductions of works in the public domain.
• Works produced by the United States government, unless the work has been contracted and produced by another entity. State government material may or may not be in the public domain.
• Works that are covered by a license or contract that permits classroom use.
• Articles in e-journals that explicitly allow non-profit educational use without permission.
• Works that the creator has made available through a commons or institutional repository.
• All other works if your use meets the criteria for fair use or the classroom exemption
How can I use copyrighted materials in myWP classes courseware?
• Use legally acquired or purchased copies of materials and always include copyright notices and remind students that copyrighted works should not be copied and redistributed to others.
• Generally restrict myWPclasses access to those students enrolled.
• Block access to materials after the course has ended.
• When possible, it is preferable to link to electronic material that is already licensed by the library rather than make digital copies.
• Digital materials are covered by copyright law and fair use also applies in this environment.
I want to play excerpts of musical recordings so the students can hear and discuss the lyrics about the course content.
Purpose is educational – weighs in favor of use. Nature of the work is highly creative (composition & performance) – this weighs against fair use. Amount of the work is small portions – this weighs in favor of use. Effect on the market is negligible since it is not reasonable to expect the students to buy their copies – this weighs in favor of use.
Section 110 of the copyright law indicates that performance in a face-to-face teaching activity directly related to the course content are not infringements. However, do not make copies of the recordings. Play the original, legally purchased recordings. Also, do not distribute copies to the students directly or through a third party.
I want to use excerpts from a movie in class to illustrate psychological concepts. Can I do this?
As long as you are using a legally obtained copy (personal or library owned) and are not showing the entire movie, this is allowed. Making a compilation tape of excerpts from several movies is also not allowed.
I rented a DVD of the film Selma from a local video store to show in my class on American History. The disc is labeled For Home Use Only. Is this use permitted?
This use falls within the 110(1) exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law that permits a classroom viewing in the context of a class session. Public performances of the video to a campus club would not be covered.
Can I scan articles into a PDF version and make that available to students through myWPclasses?
Making an electronic copy is the same as making a paper copy. Under fair use guidelines, the articles can be used once in class. If you want to use the same articles for subsequent semesters or modules/cohorts, permission will be necessary.
I want to take pictures from the Internet and insert them into a power point presentation to be used in the classroom.
This is a borderline case. Weighing the four factors of fair use: Purpose is educational – this weighs in favor of use. Nature of the work is highly creative (paintings, photographs) – this weighs against fair use. The amount is the complete work – this weighs against fair use. Effect on the market is negligible unless these digital pictures are available for purchase – this weighs in favor of use.
If the websites where you find these pictures have copyright statements that state that any reproduction is prohibited, you need to get permission to use the images. It is recommended that you track down the origin of the picture and request permission to use it. This can be as simple as an email exchange. Explain what you want to use and how you want to use it. If you get permission, this should be indicated in your powerpoint presentation in small print – “Copyright 2005 John Doe, used by permission.” Another option is to place a link from your power point presentation to the website page that contains the picture. You are not making a copy, so no permission is required.