There's a ton of grey area when it comes to understanding copyright, especially in regards to digital information and the Internet. Review the official BVU Copyright Policy, along with the information, resources, and tools below. You can also check the Copyright Frequently Asked Questions.
Copyright provides certain rights and protection to the creators of original works. Those works may include artistic, musical, dramatic, literary, etc. See Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act.
Copyright owners have (and may give to others) the right to:
- Reproduce the work
- Make copies or adaptations
- Distribute copies; whether by sale, rental, lease, or lending
- Perform the work publicly (e.g., audiovisual performances)
- Digitally transmit the work to the public (e.g. audio recordings)
- Publicly display the work
Copyright limitations can be found in Sections 107-121 of the Copyright Law.
- Library of Congress Copyright site
- Copyright Forms - for copyright registration, renewal, corrections, etc. (on the Library of Congress Copyright site)
- University of Minnesota Copyright site
- Copyright Use Map
- Digital Millenium Copyright Act information
"Fair Use" is one of the limitations to Section 107 of the Copyright Act. The Fair Use Doctrine allows people, under certain circumstances, to use copyrighted materials without paying royalties or first seeking permission. Fair use is especially important in educational settings, because it allows copyrighted materials to be used for teaching and/or research purposes.
Things to consider:
- The purpose or reasoning for wanting to use the copyrighted work (commercial or nonprofit educational?)
- The nature of the work
- The amount being used in relation to the work as a whole
- The effect of its use on the value or potential market of the work
- Fair Use Checklist
- 4 Factor Analysis Tool (scroll down to the Factor #1 section where the tool begins)
The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (2002) deals with the extent to which educational institutions may use/display/copy copyrighted work for digital distance education.
The TEACH Act:
- Allows the use of a broader range of copyrighted works
- Expands the receiving locations allowed to view the works
- Allows copyrighted analog works to be digitized
To use the TEACH Act, a University must:
- be accredited and nonprofit
- have an internal policy for use of copyrighted works and on copyright law
- provide printed or online resources for faculty describing their rights and responsibilities under copyright law
- inform students the material is protected by copyright
- use works not originally intended for educational use
- lawfully acquire the copyrighted works
- use the copyrighted works as an integral part of the class
- take precautions to restrict access of copyrighted works to only students enrolled in the course
- take reasonable precautions to prevent students from distributing the material after viewing it
- if the institution already has a digital version of the work, then an analog version cannot be digitized for use in an online course
Material becomes "public domain" if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it didn't meet the qualifications for copyright. Material that is public domain may be used freely without permission.