Copyright Guidelines and Resources


Copyright Basics | Teaching with Copyright | Library Services

  1. Unpublished Works
  2. Quoting Copyrighted Material
  3. Who Owns my Course Materials?
  4. Public Domain Works
  5. Seeking Permission and Request is Denied
  1. Making Personal Copies
  2. Making Copies of Journal Articles
  3. Making Copies of Newspaper Articles
  4. Making Copies of Chapters from Novels
  5. Coursepacks
  6. Distributing Copies of your own Articles
  7. Repeated Use of Articles
  8. Copying Students Papers
  9. Posting Readings on Blackboard
  10. Textbook Chapters for Classroom Use
  11. Posting Software in Blackboard
  12. Copying DVDS
  13. Showing a Full Video in Class or on Blackboard
  14. Showing Video Clips on Blackboard
  15. Uploading an Article Obtained from the Library to Blackboard
  16. Audiovisual Works for Class Presentations
  17. Digital Photography of Works of Art
  18. Off-Air Video Recording
  19. Analog to Digital Conversion

Library Services

  1. Library Electronic Reserves

Not finding the scenario you are looking for? Email your suggested scenario topic .

Copyright Basics

1. Unpublished Works

A researcher would like to use excerpts from an unpublished work in an article. He intends to publish the article in an edited collection of critical essays.

Even though the work is unpublished, it is still copyrighted. A copyright is created for all original works of authorship, including unpublished works such as letters, as soon as they are "fixed in a tangible medium of expression." Therefore, the researcher should either consider whether or not his use falls within fair use or seek permission from the author of the unpublished work. To determine if the unpublished work qualifies for fair use, each work should be evaluated using a four-factor fair use analysis. For additional detail see the Fair Use Checklist (PDF). If the researcher determines his/her use could qualify as fair use or he/she obtains permission to use the excerpts, he/she should provide appropriate attribution for use of the article in accordance with what is customary for his/her discipline. See Section C of UofL’s Ethical Conduct and Reporting of Research.

UofL acknowledges the University of Minnesota for the basics of this scenario.

^ Top of Page

2. Quoting Copyrighted Material

A faculty researcher is writing an article on the influence of specific songwriters on American pop music to be published in an academic journal. The researcher plans to quote lines from several of the various songwriters' songs. Is this a fair use of the song lyrics, or does the researcher need to seek permission to use the material?

Reproducing portions of a copyrighted work, such as a songs' lyrics, for the purposes of comment and criticism are often allowed under fair use. A four-factor fair use analysis will need to be conducted for each excerpt from each song used in the article. Factors such as length of the song's lyrics quoted relative to all of the lyrics should be considered; using shorter segments that include only the lines necessary for the purpose of the article typically will lead to a more favorable fair use determination, but some permitted fair uses have included the use of an entire work. For additional detail see the Fair Use Checklist (PDF). If the researcher determines his/her use could qualify as fair use or he/she obtains permission to use the excerpts, he/she should provide appropriate attribution for use of the article in accordance with what is customary for his/her discipline. See Section C of UofL’s Ethical Conduct and Reporting of Research.

UofL acknowledges the University of Minnesota for the basics of this scenario.

^ Top of Page

3. Who Owns my Course Materials?

Who owns the teaching materials an instructor has created when teaching a class at the University of Louisville?

The University of Louisville Policy on Intellectual Property states in section 3.b that "for a Traditional Work the work shall be deemed the property of the Creator unless the Traditional Work was specifically commissioned by the University (productivity measures as agreed to in a work plan – books, articles, paintings, etc. – unless specifically commissioned by the University, are exempt). Section 2.g of the IP policy defines a Traditional Work: “Traditional Works - include creative works and research materials that are educational, scholarly, artistic, musical, sculptural, or literary works. Examples include: books, articles, class notes, theses, dissertations, manuscripts, poems, films, videotapes, digital and analog recordings, musical works, dramatic works including any accompanying music, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, works as outlined in an annual work plan, and other works of the artistic imagination or the kind that are not created as a result of a specific employment assignment or are specifically commissioned by the University. (The term "literary" has its ordinary dictionary definition, not the broader definition set out in the Copyright Act.)” Thus in most situations, unless the teaching materials were specifically commissioned, the instructor will be deemed the owner of the teaching materials. Per section 3.b.iii.1., if the instructor is unsure if specific teaching materials may contain Intellectual Property that would not be exempted under the terms of the UofL IP Policy (and thus not owned by the instructor), the instructor may submit a Research Disclosure Form to the Office of Technology Transfer and request an expedited review to reach a determination.

^ Top of Page

4. Public Domain Works

A professor is preparing for a year-long sabbatical abroad and needs to take with her a book from the library that is critical to her research. The book was published in 1919 by an American university press. The faculty member is reluctant to borrow and take the library copy for an entire year, in case someone else might need it. Can she make a digital or photocopy of the entire book to use for her research?

Copyright law protects works for limited times. In the United States copyright of published works endures for the life of the author plus 70 years for works authored beginning in 1978 to today. After the expiration of this term a work falls into the public domain. Prior to 1978 there were different legal requirements, the publication is now in the public domain and may be copied without infringing on a copyright. Works published in the U.S. before 1923 are now in the public domain and thus she can copy the book as she wishes.

UofL acknowledges the University of Minnesota for this scenario.

^ Top of Page

5. Seeking Permission and Request is Denied

A faculty member, developing an interactive tutorial, intends to market to K-12 school districts. She wants to digitize video clips of commercial television programming that she has recorded herself from either cable or broadcast television. She's described her project to the networks that hold the copyright rights to the television programs from which the clips will be selected, and asked for permission to use specific clips. The networks all refused. After considering these refusals the faculty member decides to go ahead and assert that her uses are fair use. Is fair use available once permission has been denied?

Making a fair use determination can be difficult as reasonable people will, at times, disagree on what constitutes a fair use of copyright protected works. Ultimately only a court on a specific set of facts can make that decision. In this case it may well be that the faculty member's planned use could be viewed as a fair use. However, it is important to note the effect that the permission refusal has on any litigation that might result from these differing viewpoints about fair use. When someone asks for permission to use copyrighted work and the copyright owner refuses to give that permission then those who choose to go forward with the projected use, under the provisions of fair use, can be considered willful infringes in any subsequent litigation over the matter. The penalties for willful infringement are more severe than those for innocent infringement. Anytime you are refused permission for a specific use it is recommended that you consult with the Office of the University Counsel if the project is a university project or an attorney who specializes in intellectual property before proceeding with that specific use as a fair use. As a general rule, the risk of litigation is greater when permission has been refused.

UofL acknowledges the University of Minnesota for the basics of this scenario.

^ Top of Page

Teaching with Copyright

6. Making Personal Copies

An instructor finds an article in a professional journal that will be helpful to her in future research projects. She would like to make a copy of the journal article for her personal files.

Making a personal copy of a copyrighted work for research and reference is a fair use. Section 107 of Title 10 of the United States Code (17 USC 107) provides for such fair use when the use is "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research."

^ Top of Page

7. Making Copies of Journal Articles

A professor would like to make multiple copies of a scientific journal article for handout to her students. The article is relevant to her course, and she may want to make copies for students in future semesters.

  • The “Classroom Guidelines” outline such a fair use scenario for the current semester. However, the “Classroom Guidelines” do not provide for making copies for students in future semesters. The four factor fair use analysis would need to be used for future semesters.
  • Purpose: The purpose of copying the journal article is nonprofit education, which weighs in favor of fair use. This factor would probably not weigh so strongly in favor of fair use if the copying were in connection with a corporate seminar or in connection with a commercial enterprise.
  • Nature: The nature of the work is factual, which weighs in favor of fair use. The fact that the article is published also weighs in favor of fair use. The law is less generous about copying more creative works, such as novels or poetry.
  • Amount: A single article from a journal may be considered an entire work by itself, which can tip this factor against fair use. Courts are sympathetic when the amount copied is limited to the amount needed, so any effort to edit or cut portions of the article may help with finding fair use.
  • Effect: Copying for use in one semester may have only minimal market effect, but repeated copying can begin to compound the market harm. On the other hand, if the particular article is not licensed or marketed for access by students, the harm here will likely be slight at most.
  • Alternatives: (1) The professor should investigate whether the University Libraries subscribes to a database which includes the desired article. If so, students should be able to make use of the articles by accessing the library website or by the professor providing a direct link to the article on the course website. Accessing the article consistent with the terms of the license agreement may permit easy access and avoid the fair use decision altogether.(2) For future semesters, the professor may wish to contact Copyright Permission Services for obtaining permission or creation of a course pack.

^ Top of Page

8. Making Copies of Newspaper Articles

A professor would like to make copies of multiple newspaper articles spanning several weeks from a local paper for use in her classroom. The articles are news items and are relevant to the subject of the course. The professor subscribes to the newspaper.

  • The "Classroom Guidelines" outline such a fair use scenario for the current semester. Using the four factor fair use analysis:
  • Purpose: The purpose of copying the news articles for classroom use is nonprofit educational, which weighs in favor of fair use. The use may also be "transformative," especially if the professor is using the articles for purposes other than the strictly news objectives of the originals. For example, if the professor is using the articles to demonstrate points about rhetorical devices or other such aspects, then the professor has departed from the original purposes of the articles.
  • Nature: The news articles are fact based, which weighs in favor of fair use. News articles are also usually time-sensitive, which may allow for greater fair use after their publication date.
  • Amount: Copying only a single news article and not the entire newspaper probably weighs in favor of fair use. But many news articles are independent works, separately copyrighted. As in most cases, professors should limit the amount to the portion of the article needed to meet educational objectives.
  • Effect: An isolated of this article for the benefit of the students enrolled in the course probably creates little or no harm to the market. Traditionally, the market for news was limited to just a few days. Today, however, some news articles are marketed indefinitely through databases.
  • Alternatives: As in many other cases, the professor should explore the feasibility of accessing the same articles through database licenses for UofL use by University Libraries. However, the relatively brevity of most news articles, and their somewhat limited market, make fair use a strong possibility for routine classroom handouts.

^ Top of Page

9. Making Copies of Chapters from Novels

A professor would like to make copies of several single chapters (some being quite lengthy) from multiple novels to distribute as handouts to students in her literature class. Each chapter is important to the course. Because the chapters are from separate works, the instructor needs to evaluate fair use with respect to each one individually; most often the analysis will be the same.

Using the four factor fair use analysis:

  • Purpose: The purpose of copying the book chapters is nonprofit education, which weighs in favor of fair use.
  • Nature: This factor applies more narrowly to highly creative works, such as novels. The creative nature of novels often weighs against fair use.
  • Amount: Copying brief excerpts of an entire work may weigh in favor of fair use. Isolated, individual, and short chapters may be satisfactorily brief. However, because of the highly creative nature of novels, and the fact that some chapters are quite lengthy, the professor should consider copying shorter excerpts if the educational goal for using the material can still be achieved.
  • Effect: Limiting the distribution of copied materials to only the students enrolled in the course may tip this factor in favor of fair use. However, such use could impact the copyright clearance permissions, which provides royalty payments to the publishers/authors. Realistically, however, the professor should consider whether affordable published versions of some books should be required for students at the bookstore or he should contact Copyright Permission Services about the creation of a course pack. The "Classroom Guidelines" in section III C.a. states: "C: Copying shall not: a. substitute for the purchase of books, publishers' reprints or periodicals."
  • Alternatives: University Libraries has access to many electronic books, and linking to them can avoid the copyright and fair use complications. In the case of novels, the professor or the University Libraries might consider purchasing multiple copies of the books to make them available to students each semester.

^ Top of Page

10. Coursepacks

An instructor would like to compile articles from journals, chapters from textbooks, and various other sources and create a coursepack of readings that students will purchase at the campus bookstore. Where can she go to find more information about how copyright applies when creating course packs?

  • The University of Louisville's Copyright Permission Services can provide assistance with getting permissions to use copyrighted works in coursepacks that are purchased by students.
  • Copyright Permission Services is located in room 276 of the William F. Ekstrom Library.

^ Top of Page

11. Distributing Copies of your own Articles

A faculty member wrote and published an article in a journal last year. Since she authored the article, does she have the right to make and distribute copies?

  • This depends upon the journal and the agreements signed by the faculty member when he/she agrees to have the article published. Authors, at the point of a work's creation, hold the exclusive rights given to copyright owners to reproduce and distribute the work. (As a UofL faculty member, traditional works are owned by the faculty member; see Scenario 3 (above) “Who Owns my Course Materials?”) However, in the pre-publication process via a publication or copyright assignment agreement, many authors transfer all or part of their copyright of a manuscript to the publisher, who may request or require the exclusive rights to publish and distribute the work. The rules vary by journal and some journals are more willing to accommodate changes to the transfer rights than others. When these rights are transferred to the publisher, then the author may only copy and distribute the work with permission from the publisher, or after a determination that the use would meet the four-factor fair use.
  • In this case, it is important to review and negotiate publication agreements. Publishers of scholarly and academic journals will each have their own default policies regarding author rights. The SHERPA Project in the UK maintains a searchable database of publisher copyright policies from more than 100 academic publishers throughout the world.
  • For authors entering into publication agreements, contact

^ Top of Page

12. Repeated Use of Articles

An instructor has found an article in a professional journal that is particularly useful for a class she teaches every semester. She would like to include the article as reading this semester, and then again next time she teaches the course. Is this a fair use?

The repeated use of a copyrighted work, from term-to-term, requires particular scrutiny in a fair use evaluation. Such a use explicitly relates to "market effect", the fourth factor in the fair use analysis. This factor requires one to consider the impact of using a copyrighted work on any market for the original article, including the permissions market. Repeated use, as well as class size, may impact this consideration. Smaller class sizes may mitigate the impact on permissions markets to some extent, and using the article only once, not in future semesters, may further limit the overall market effect of a decision to forgo permissions. While not an automatic disqualification, repeated use of a copyrighted work weighs against fair use. For any repeated use to be judged as a fair use, it must be outweighed, in the balance, by the remaining three factors of the evaluation (purpose, nature, and amount). The “Classroom Guidelines” provide several scenarios that would qualify for fair use bur repeated use is not one of the scenarios. If your use complies with the “Classroom Guidelines,” your use will likely qualify as fair use. However, a use that exceeds the suggested limits of the “Classroom Guidelines” could still qualify for fair use.

Modified from a posting by Copyright Information and Education.

^ Top of Page

13. Copying Students Papers

An instructor copies the papers submitted by the students in her class and brings them to the Libraries to place on reserve. Does the instructor need permission from each student to copy their paper and share it with others?

  • The students' papers are copyrighted and each of the students will own the copyright to their papers. The instructor will need permission from each student to copy the papers. She should get the permissions before bringing the papers to the Libraries. If such use is planned it is recommended that she note such in the class syllabus and obtain permission from each of the students.
  • If an instructor gets permission to copy a student authored work for use in Libraries reserves, she would need new permission to use the work again during any subsequent academic term.
  • Please note: Certain uses of student work may require compliance with the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA).

^ Top of Page

14. Posting Readings on Blackboard for Class

An instructor scans excerpts from journals, textbooks, and various other sources and creates PDF files of all of the readings. The instructor announces to the class that the readings will be available online at the course Blackboard site. Is this fair use?

  • Fair use is determined by the results of the four factor analysis conducted for each work. In this scenario, the instructor must conduct a four factor analysis for each journal article, each textbook section, and any other work she wishes to include on the class Blackboard site. The result may be mixed and fair use might apply to some works while others may require permission from the rights owner for inclusion on the class website. That only students in the class can access the class website (as is typical of most UofL Blackboard class websites) is a factor that supports fair use. Some journals grant permission for classroom use but do not permit making the articles available on a server. Others permit such use provided the copyright notice is provided on the class website prior to viewing the articles.
  • Note that some uses of Blackboard would not be considered as face-to-face instruction and thus the requirements for use for distance education would be applicable.

^ Top of Page

15. Textbook Chapters for Classroom Use

In the attempt to save students money a professor scans several chapters from an expensive textbook for her course and uploads a PDF file of the chapters to her Blackboard site for students to read. This is the only material the students need from this particular textbook to complete class assignments. Is this a fair use?

This is unlikely to be considered a fair use. A four factor analysis of these circumstances would reasonably conclude that the market is directly affected by this activity. Students who would otherwise be expected to purchase the book no longer need to and the publisher is thus deprived of sales nor would the publisher receive royalties via a copyright clearance service. An alternative approach for the teacher would be to place an appropriately acquired copy of the textbook on reserve in the Libraries, to ask students to purchase the text from the bookstore, or contact UofL's Copyright Permissions Services to see if a permission can be obtained (a royalty payment may be required.)

^ Top of Page

16. Posting Software in Blackboard

A faculty member wants their students to have access to an expensive commercial software program that is required for their class. The faculty member purchases the program then places it in their course on Blackboard for students to download and use to complete assignments.

  • This would not be considered a fair use. The intent is to circumvent the need for students to purchase a commercially available piece of software that has been required for the class by making it available for download. This definitely creates a negative market impact for the owner of the software. Students must acquire the software through legal means. In some cases, an institutional or departmental license could be acquired to allow legal download or acquisition of the software for the students. Even in the case of freeware or shareware, it is safer to link to locations where the student can download the software rather than placing it in the Blackboard course directly as the right to download (copy) the software for the class may not include the right of distribution.
  • Neither would this use qualify for the limited backup rights provided in 17 U.S.C. § 117. Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer programs.

^ Top of Page

17. Copying DVDS

You, the instructor of a for-credit course taught at UofL in the film or media studies area, would like to use scenes from several movies to illustrate how various filmmakers have addressed a particular topic being that is the focus of a segment of your course’s content during an upcoming classroom lecture. You would like to create a compilation of these scenes copied from the original DVDs held at the UofL Ekstrom Library. However the DVDs use an encryption code known as Content Scrambling System or CSS which prevents copying any portion of the DVDs. This makes it impossible to copy clips or short scenes unless one uses technology capable of circumventing CSS. Is it permissible to use circumvention technology to make compilations of DVD clips?

  • In November 2006 the U.S. Copyright Office issued an exemption to permit copying of clips or short portions of DVDs by film and media studies faculty. As a practical matter, when instructors teaching courses about film and media want to create compilations to use in the classroom this exemption allows them to do so without violating the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  • Some qualifying conditions must be met. The exemption narrowly targets "film and media studies" teaching. If your course is intended to explicate film making technique, theory, style, or practice then it is likely that your teaching qualifies for the exemption. The fact that a course is taught under the aegis of a film or media study department may be less important than the reason for using the compilation in class. For example, if your course used film clips simply to depict urban settings with no need to examine the film technique, camera effects etc. then the copying isn't likely to qualify for the exemption.
  • A second condition to be met is that the compilations are made from original DVDs owned by UofL that provides media collection support to the curriculum. If your department relies on the university's main library collections for access to DVDs for use in the classroom these same DVDs may be used to create the compilation.

^ Top of Page

18. Showing a Full Video in Class or on Blackboard

An instructor wants to create a copy of a documentary and post it to her password-protected course website (limited to the students enrolled in her course) for download.

  • In the face-to-face classroom setting this situation is clearly allowable under the provisions of Section 110(1) in U.S. copyright law. However, until the University of Louisville meets all of the policy requirements of the TEACH Act instructors must look to the provisions of fair use when working with media in the online teaching environment.
  • In this case the instructor would conduct a four factor fair use analysis to determine whether this is an allowable use. The circumstances weigh against fair use. Though the purpose is educational and the nature of this documentary film may be factual, the amount (the entire film) and the market effect (students will download the film and thus be able to keep their own copy) tip the balance of the four factors away from fair use. Use of the entire film may be critical to the educational purpose but by downloading the entire film each student becomes part of a distribution of the film that very likely has a negative market effect.

^ Top of Page

19. Showing Video Clips on Blackboard

A faculty member wishes to use several clips from a movie or television show to demonstrate situations pertinent to the course and place them on the course's Blackboard website. Is this allowed?

The use of the clips must be related to the course and the use of the clips would need to have importance in meeting the course’s objectives. The four factor fair use analysis would again have to be applied in this case. In this scenario, the fact that these were clips not the entire movie or show would not necessarily make the case for fair use, but weigh in its favor. In general, limited use, both in amount and length, of video clips weighs in favor of fair use for courses. However, just breaking a full work into smaller clips and placing them all into the same class would have the same weight against fair use as would using the entire work.

^ Top of Page

20. Uploading an Article Obtained from the Library to Blackboard

An instructor wants her students to read an article from a professional journal. She accesses the full text of the article as a PDF through the University Libraries. She saves the article to her computer and then uploads it to her course's Blackboard site for students to download.

  • Since the instructor obtained the article from a University Libraries licensed electronic resource she needs to understand general limitations and restrictions on use that may be contained in the license agreement between the publisher and the University of Louisville. The terms of such license agreements control how the materials may be used. It is essential that all instructors using library resources understand their Rights and Responsibilities for the Use of Library-licensed Electronic Resources. Frequently license agreements do not allow copying of PDF files and reposting them to a class web site or Blackboard site. However, in numerous instances the instructor can make articles available to students from a course web page through a direct link. To learn how to link directly from your web page to an article available as an electronic resource from the Libraries, see the Linking Methods tutorial.
  • Alternatively, some journals grant permission for such classroom use but do not permit making the articles available on a server. Others permit such use provided the copyright notice is provided on the class website prior to viewing the articles.

^ Top of Page

21. Audiovisual Works for Class Presentations

An instructor wants to include photographs or music in a PowerPoint presentation for his class lecture. Does he need to seek permission from the copyright owners to do so? What if he wants to make changes to the photograph or music file?

  • In this scenario the use occurs in the face-to-face classroom, the instructor does not need to seek permission to use the copyrighted photographs and music files. Displaying or performing copyrighted works for classroom purposes is allowed under section 110 (1) of Title 17 (U.S. Copyright Law) provided the photographs and music were legally obtained and unless the work was produced or marketed primarily for performance or display as part of mediated instructional activities transmitted via digital networks.
  • In addition, changes made to enhance his instructional purpose, e.g. commentary, criticism, even parody, are activities allowed under the fair use provision; provided, however, that those changes were not that of distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the work which would be prejudicial to the author of the work. (See Rights of certain authors to attribution and integrity.)
  • If this PowerPoint is posted on Blackboard a fair use analysis should be conducted in this case. Assuming the presentation itself is original, the deciding factor may lie in the amount of work used, its educational purpose, and if the use is transformative. If the presentation is placed in a format (such as Adobe Presenter) that is not easily downloadable by end users, this would also weigh in favor of fair use. Other alternatives include buying stock photos/images from a service that are copyrighted and royalty free, using images from a variety of copyright free websites or services, creating original images or linking to existing images on other sites.

^ Top of Page

22. Digital Photography of Works of Art

An instructor would like to take digital photographs of paintings, sculptures, or architectural works and share them with her class.

  • Works of art and architecture that are not in the public domain may still be available to copy in the form of a photographic image. Photographic reproductions are generally lower-quality and would not likely compete in the same market as the original (if they do, as might be the case with reproducing photographs or digital images, use would likely not be permitted). When deciding if and how to use photographic reproductions of works of art, you should conduct a four-factor fair use analysis for each reproduction.
  • Also, remember that peoples' faces may not appear in photographs that will be publicly displayed without a signed release. Information Technology’s New Media unit can provide graphics and photography support. If they do the photography, they will obtain the appropriate releases. Should that not meet your needs, the Office of University Counsel can assist in providing a standard release template when taking photographs of individuals.

^ Top of Page

23. Off-Air Video Recording

A faculty member records a segment of the evening news on her home VCR and the next day shows the recording to her class. Afterward she selects a 2 minute clip from the segment to burn onto DVD for future classroom presentations.

  • Off-air video recording is subject to the same copyright considerations that any other media used in classroom instruction would be. News broadcasts are copyrighted, usually by the producing network. Before using home recordings in a classroom presentation instructors should conduct a thorough four factor analysis to determine if fair use might apply to the circumstances.
  • In this particular instance the faculty member may find that her initial use of the recording is a fair use. But any subsequent use, even the short 2 minute clip, would require another four factor analysis. Circumstances surrounding any use can change over time. For example, the network may later make the segment available commercially, on DVD. This condition could compel the faculty member to purchase the DVD from the network rather than rely on her homemade DVD copy for instructional use. In general analog to digital conversions are not permitted when content is commercially available in digital formats.

^ Top of Page

24. Analog to Digital Conversion

A faculty member's departmental library holds several older VHS videocassettes that are used regularly for classroom presentations. The videos are no longer available commercially in either VHS or DVD formats. The faculty member wants to create a compilation of clips by converting segments of the VHS tapes to digital form, and then burning the clips onto DVD for use in classroom lectures.

  • When audiovisual media is commercially available in digital formats converting an analog version to digital format is not good practice. To take advantage of the fair use provision in copyright law users are expected to acquire authorized copies, i.e. commercially distributed copies, to use in any follow-on work.
  • The fact that a video is out-of-print and no longer distributed commercially isn't, alone, sufficient reason to assume copying or converting is permissible. It is an element of the market effect of a use to consider, in a thorough four factor analysis of fair use. In this case creating the clip compilation may be fair use but because fair use is determined on an individual case basis it is necessary to analyze the use of each clip from the four-factor perspective.
  • Note: Fair use, as a matter of general principle, is medium neutral. In this scenario the fact that the copying involves format conversion effects only one factor, market effect. The purpose for the copying, the nature of the original clips, and the size of the clips to be copied remain important to the overall balance of a four factor analysis.

^ Top of Page

Library Services

25. Library Electronic Reserves

An instructor would like to place several articles and book chapters on reserve at the Library for students to access electronically. Access will be limited to only those students enrolled in the class.

  • Traditionally libraries have provided short term, limited access to materials selected by instructors. Electronic reserve systems exploit new technologies that enhance reserve service and deliver 24/7 remote access to authorized, registered students. Applying the fair use provision of copyright law is critical in library electronic reserve services.
  • Instructors submitting materials to be posted on the University Libraries Electronic Reserve system are responsible for evaluating, on a case-by-case basis, whether the use of each copyrighted work requires permission or qualifies as fair use. Visit our Electronic Reserves page for more information about how to place articles or book chapters on electronic reserve. Please note, such placement must be in conformity with University Libraries policies. When permissions are needed, instructors or their departments can contact the Copyright Permission Services for assistance.

^ Top of Page

^ Top of Page