General Information

What if "Fair Use" does not apply, but I still want to use the copyrighted material?

If the material does not fall under "fair use," you still have a few options.

  1. Review the purpose of use to determine if you can claim exemption under the TEACH Act.
  2. Seek permission from the copyright owner.
  3. Use alternative works with less restrictive copyright protection.
  4. Remember that intentionally using copyrighted works that do not fall under fair use is illegal and may lead to legal actions or prosecution.

How do I apply provisions of the TEACH Act to my courses?

Review the BVU Copyright Policy to make certain the uses of copyright materials are consistent with the guidelines, and include the following copyright notice in your syllabi: "Many of the materials posted to this course site are protected by copyright law. These materials are only for the use of students enrolled in this course and only for the purposes of this course. They may not be further retained or disseminated."

Can I show a movie in class without obtaining permission?

Yes, if you are viewing the movie in a face-to-face class for educational purposes only. If you are viewing the movie for recreation or entertainment purposes, you’ll need permission from the copyright owner.

How do I get permission to use someone's copyrighted work?

Contact the copyright owner directly and ask for permission. If you don't know who owns the copyright, contact the Copyright Office and request the information. Material copyrighted from 1978 to the present can be searched online.

I want to digitize a portion of a movie or video, can I do this?

In "reasonable and limited portions" it may fall under fair use or exemption under the TEACH Act. Consider the effect it would have on the market, whether you're revealing any "spoilers," and the purpose of the video (is it for a class assignment?).

I want to scan a book; is that against copyright?

Is it for educational purposes? How much of the book are you scanning? Does it give away too much of the plot? Would copying it affect the market for the book? All of those are factors to consider. Talk with the BVU librarians for more information.

Is my website protected by copyright?

Original works on a website may be protected by copyright, including writings, artwork, photographs, and other forms protected by copyright.

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Copying Information

I'm copying material for educational purposes - isn't that fair use?

Making copies of copyrighted material for educational purposes is not necessarily "fair use." Fair use is determined on a case-by-case basis, and must take into account several different factors: the purpose of its use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount being used, and the effect on potential market. (Use the four-factor fair use analysis tool.)

Can I make copies of a journal article for my students? What if it's already in digital form?

Consider the purpose of its use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount being used, and the effect on potential market. Talk with the BVU librarians for more information. If the article is already available online, link to the article instead. (Use the four-factor fair use analysis tool.)

Can I make a copy of a music CD that I own?

Yes, it is legal to make one personal copy of an item you legally own.

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Downloading Information

Is downloading works from peer-to-peer networks/programs illegal? If so, what is the penalty?

Yes, uploading or downloading copyrighted works without permission from the copyright owner is illegal and an infringement of the copyright owner's rights. "Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights." (U.S. Copyright Office)

Assume that most works are protected by federal copyright law. Since the majority of files distributed over peer-to-peer networks are copyrighted works, there is a liability risk for downloading materials. You can avoid these risks by using authorized services to legitimately obtain copyrighted material by purchasing them (e.g., iTunes, Amazon). In addition, this legal route will reduce your exposure to viruses and spyware.

The library has a licensed article in PDF form. Can I download it and post it to my class website?

The library obtains copies of copyrighted work through a license agreement. Your use of the copyrighted article must comply with the terms of the license agreement. The agreement probably doesn't allow copies to be reposted on a class website or learning management system. However, you may be able to link directly to the library's copy of the article from your course/website.

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