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Copyright FAQ's

A professor has an article to share with a class on Canvas. Is it considered to be in violation of copyright?

No, fair use allows the professor to share it on Canvas with one class for a one time (semester) use. If the professor plans  on using it for more than one semester, the professor would need to seek permission from copyright holders. 

Can a professor just give the citation of an article for the students to find? 

Technically yes. However, unless the full-text article in available in the databases, the library will end up paying for copyright each time a student requests the item (depending on the age of the article). It would be best for the professor to request permission from the copyright holder. In the request, the professor must specify how students will obtain access to the material. For more information, please refer to Getting Permission from the Copyright Holder.

A professor just wants to copy a chapter in a book for use in class. Is that considered in violation of copyright?

This question falls under section 3 of fair use. The amount of work allowed under fair use is proportional to the length of the entire work. The general rule of thumb is using less than 20% of the work is considered fair use. 

Can a professor place their own personal copy of a DVD on reserve for students? 

Yes, faculty may place their own DVDs on reserve for students to use for class. The library may retain DVDs on reserve for one semester. For more information about course reserves, please follow this link.  

When do I need public performance rights for a video?

You need to have public performance rights when the video is shown but not related to instruction. All campus clubs and/or public events must have public performance rights. 

Do all of the videos in Welder Library automatically come with public performance rights? 

No, it is not automatic for every video. It is up to the user to determine if the video requires public performance rights. 

Is the internet in the public domain? 

Websites that make up the internet are often copyright-protected. If content on a website is in the public domain, there will be a designation on the site. 

Are YouTube videos in the public domain? 

This depends on each video. YouTube policy states "YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and publishers and requires all users to confirm they own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder to upload content."

Someone already copyrighted the name I wanted to use for my project. Can I still use it?

Names do not fall under copyright protection. You can use a name unless it is trademarked. 

I'm a faculty member and want to use an instructional video in my multimedia presentation for class. Can I do that? 

This depends on whether your use falls under the umbrella of fair use. For more information on fair use, please refer to What is Fair Use? 

I would like my students to use a textbook for class, but it is cost-prohibitive for students. Can I photocopy parts of the book for each member of class?

This would depend on the use of the textbook. If it falls under fair use, you could copy a portion legally. If not, you would need to seek permission from the copyright owner. For more information on getting permission. please refer to Getting Permission from Copyright Holders. 

There is a chapter in a book I would like to use in my class. I have tried to contact the publisher, but the company doesn't seem to exist any longer. Does that mean that this book is in public domain? 

It is in the public domain if the book was published before 1923. If the copyright date is after this date, then you may want to consider using another piece of work unless your use falls under fair use. For more information on public domain, please refer to Public Domain.