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Langsdale Library

Copyright FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions on Copyright*

 

 I'd like to give my students copies of a few articles I've found that directly relate to class discussion. How many may I copy and distribute?

An instructor may make one copy per student of a single chapter from a book, one article from a periodical or newspaper, a short story, essay or short poem, or a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture for discussion or classroom use within certain guidelines of brevity and spontaneity (see guidelines below). These copies cannot be used to create an anthology or course pack, nor can these copies be made from "consumable" items such as workbooks or exercises.

For further information, see Guidelines For Classroom Copying of Books and Periodicals

May I show Saving Private Ryan in my class to discuss the depiction of historical events in film?

The copyright guidelines concerning performance include the following requirements: The performance (video) must be shown in a classroom or place of instruction, be presented by the instructor or students in the class as a part of face-to-face instruction, and be legally acquired. In other words, a professor may show a video owned by the library, as part of his/her classroom instruction with a discussion or assignment. He/she cannot show a video that is not directly related to the course curriculum.

I'd like to give my students copies of a few articles I've found that directly relate to class discussion. How many may I copy and distribute?

An instructor may make one copy per student of a single chapter from a book, one article from a periodical or newspaper, a short story, essay or short poem, or a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture for discussion or classroom use within certain guidelines of brevity and spontaneity (see guidelines below). These copies cannot be used to create an anthology or course pack, nor can these copies be made from "consumable" items such as workbooks or exercises.

For further information, see Guidelines For Classroom Copying of Books and Periodicals

Now that the library is offering reserve materials electronically, have the policies for copying materials for library reserves changed?

There are a few differences in the reserve policy for electronic reserves. In general, faculty may place the following items on reserve:

  • An original copy of a book, journal issue, audiocassette or videocassette tape from the library's collection or the professor's personal collection.
  • A photocopy of ONE chapter from a book owned by the library or the professor or a SINGLE ARTICLE from a periodical owned by the library or the professor.
  • A photocopy of ONE chapter from a book or a SINGLE article from a periodical NOT OWNED by the library or the professor for only ONE course for ONE semester without permission of the copyright owner.
  • A single copy of a video taped off-air for only ten (10) days following the taping.

To comply with copyright guidelines electronic reserve material will be password-protected so that only students in a particular course will be able to view articles, using a specific password assigned to them by the instructor of that course. Copyright notification will appear before a student may view the electronic document. If the material is not owned by the library, it may only remain on electronic reserves for one semester without permission from the copyright owner.

There’s not one perfect textbook for my class; I would like to put together a coursepack of various book chapters and articles to sell to students as a text.

Although some publishers will allow portions of their materials to be used in coursepacks, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder, and many publishers charge a fee for use.  Additionally, you must request permission each year/semester you use the copyrighted work in your coursepack as most clearances only last for one semester.
You may obtain permission through a general clearance service, such as the Copyright Clearance Center or contact UB’s bookstore for further assistance. 

You may also choose to post individual readings on Langsdale’s Electronic Reserves to make available for students in your course for free.  Langsdale will then obtain permissions through the Copyright Clearance Center.

 I saw a great cartoon on a web site that I would like to use for my own web page; If I give credit for the cartoon, may I use it?

First of all, there are few printed guidelines for use of material on the web. Librarians and publishers have failed to agree on standards for fair use of electronic and digital materials. There are various interpretations of the copyright law as it applies to reproduction of material published electronically.With that said, technically, all materials on the web, both text and graphics, are copyrighted, and unfortunately, because of rampant use of web graphics, the creator of the web page you're viewing may not necessarily be the creator of the cartoon or picture. One should get permission to use any text or graphic found on the web unless one claims fair use. For example, one might be able to claim fair use if he/she is using the material as an example as part of a discussion on the use of graphics or as a sample for critique; one could not claim fair use if the graphic is simply used to make the web page more attractive or eye-catching. Similarly, one may use a fully-cited excerpt of text as part of a scholarly paper, but one would not simply use lifted text without a critical or scholarly purpose.

The Psychology Department at XYC University has a wonderful web site; may I offer a link to it from my own web page?

A web site's URL is not copyrighted; it is simply an address to that site; therefore one may include a link to that site. However, some copyrighted web sites are compilations of links, and one would not copy those lists of links. "Netiquette" encourages web designers to inform the creator of the original site that is being linked.

UB does not subscribe to ABC Journal. Each issue of the journal has an ongoing article on trends in my field. May I request a standing order for ILL to send me a copy of that feature each month?

All interlibrary loan programs follow a set of copyright guidelines concerning photocopies of journal articles. This "rule of five" states that within one year a library may not make copies of more than five articles from the last five years of issues of the same periodical title (regardless of whether one patron or more make the requests). Therefore, providing that no one else has requested articles from that periodical you may receive as many as five articles from that journal within the last five years, but no more. If this series of features appeared in issues at least five years old, there is no such limitation.

 


*Section 107 of the Copyright Law of 1976 allows for "fair use" of copyrighted materials for educational purposes. One should consider the following four factors to determine whether a particular use of copyright materials falls under fair use:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work [creative or factual]
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work (US Code, Title 17, Section 107) Educators, librarians, and copyright owners have also agreed to several sets of guidelines in addition to the Copyright Law. Most of the answers to these questions apply the more stringent guidelines for use. If you apply the fair use test mentioned above and feel reasonably confident that your use falls with fair use, you may be more liberal in your application of the following questions.