Copyright Guidelines

DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this document is as accurate as possible. However, this does not constitute legal advice and users should always verify the legal requirements for any uses of copyrighted materials.

Highlights of Copyright

Copyright protects the creator of a work from unauthorized use.

Fair Use Guidelines allow for some uses of copyrighted materials in a teaching situation, with restrictions placed on number of copies, amount of. material copied or displayed and number of uses.

Library users may make copies from copyrighted materials for personal research use.

Commercial video materials may be used in educational settings as part of face-to-face instruction.

Commercial video materials may not be used for public performances, whether fee or free, unless public performance rights have been obtained.

Definition of Copyright

Copyright protects the right of the creator of a work from unauthorized copying. In other words, if you develop a Web page or write a poem, or a book, or a piece of music, no one can reproduce it or sell it without your permission.


Copyright is one method of encouraging people or businesses to take the time and financial risk to produce and distribute information. Problems arise when others want to copy the information you, or others, have worked hard to produce. This really wasn't much of an issue until fast, inexpensive copy and printing machines, audio and video recorders, and computers came into use. Only rarely did anyone bother to copy long passages by hand, and certainly not multiple copies. However, with the advent of these fast, easy methods of copying, where to draw the line between the creators' rights and the users' rights became more complicated.

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons licensing makes it possible for creators of a work to determine what rights they would like to give to users of their work, ranging from placing it fully in the public domain to providing rights to use the work in specified ways.

Copyright Law for Distance Education (TEACH Act)

"On November 2nd, 2002, the "Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act" (the TEACH Act), part of the larger Justice Reauthorization legislation (H.R. 2215), was signed into law by President Bush. Long anticipated by educators and librarians, TEACH redefines the terms and conditions on which accredited, nonprofit educational institutions throughout the U.S. may use copyright protected materials in distance education-including on websites and by other digital means--without permission from the copyright owner and without payment of royalties..." from ALA's Copyright: Distance Education and the TEACH Act

 A Fun-To-Do Copyright Tutorial

"Copyright Bay" is the most fun copyright learning experience available. Try it out for an adventure in the tortuous waters of copyright. You will learn a lot and have fun doing it.

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