Copyright Issues

The more informed you are about copyright, the better you'll be able make choices about how to include copyrighted works in the content of your DE courses. Copyright is a vague and ambiguous territory in which many people are nervous to tread. The Oregon Tech Librarians can provide guidelines & websites to help you make your decisions. We can also help you secure permission to use copyrighted works.

The U.S. Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright the exclusive rights to:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Make derivative works
  • Distribute copies of the work
  • Publicly perform the work
  • Publicly display the work

There are 3 major exemptions to the Copyright Act which instructors can use. These are fair use, education exemptions and the TEACH Act, and the public domain. Each of these as well as use of the public domain offers opportunities for legal use of copyrighted materials, and one or more may apply to your particular situation. Our recommended approach when making decisions about using copyrighted material is this:

  • Assume that the material you are interested in using is probably copyrighted, even if you don't see a symbol.
  • Consider whether the material you are interested in could be in the public domain
    If the material is not in the public domain, perform a Fair Use Analysis. (See the websites to the right for guidelines on fair use and analysis checklists).
  • If your analysis results are not clear, consider the options presented by educational exemptions and guidelines and the TEACH Act (See the websites to the right).
  • If in doubt, secure permission

You may feel comfortable including these types of materials in your DE course site:

  • Instructor's own lecture notes, tests, homework solutions, etc.
  • Links to articles from the Oregon Tech Library's subscription databases

You should check copyright limits of these types of materials before including them in your DE course site:

  • Articles from material not owned by the Oregon Tech Library
  • Commercially produced videos, cassettes, CDs, etc. that have not been purchased with public performance rights or another type of copyright clearance
  • Student Technical Reports or Senior Projects unless you have written permission from the student.

Print Materials in the Oregon Tech Library

KF2995 .C74 2012. Copyright law for librarians and educators : creative strategies and practical solutions by Kenneth D. Crews

KF2995 .R87 2004. Complete copyright: An everyday guide for librarians by Carrie Russell

KF3022.Z9 F57 2004. The public domain: how to find & use copyright-free writings, music, art & more by Stephen Fishman

KF3002.Z9 S75 2004. Getting permission : how to license & clear copyrighted materials online & off by Richard Stim