Copyright Overview

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Why is Copyright so important?

  1. It is the law.
  2. Both you personally, as well as the institution, are liable if copyright laws are violated.
  3. Copyright law protects the rights of authors and ensures that they or their copyright holder are fairly compensated for their work.

IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH COPYRIGHT LAW – It is illegal for you and the institution to violate copyright laws. The Copy Center has the right to deny a copy request if it appears to violate copyright law

Fair Use Doctrine

Under “fair use” you may reproduce copyrighted materials without obtaining the copyright owner’s permission. Begin examining whether you need to get permission to reproduce by considering the following factors:

  1. Purpose & character of the use – Is it of a commercial nature or for nonprofit educational use?
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work – Is it appropriate material for the desired purpose?
  3. The amount and substantiality of the use in relation to the whole – Are you using a large percentage of the work (over 10%)?
  4. The effect of the use on the value of the work - Are you depriving the owner of the copyrighted work of being justly compensated?

Non-Copyrighted Work

  • Work that lacks originality such as a phone book
  • Works in the public domain
  • Freeware
  • US Government Works
  • Facts
  • Ideas, processes, methods and systems described in copyrighted works

Important Copyright Dates

  1. Any work published before Dec 31, 1922 is in the public domain.
  2. Works published between Jan 1, 1923 and Dec 31, 1978 is protected for 95 years from the date of publication unless the author did not renew the original term of protection of 28 years.
  3. After 1978, works are protected whether they are published or not. They are also protected for 70 years after the author’s death.
  4. Works created before Dec 31, 1978 but never published are protected for 70 years after the author’s death.