The James E. Tobin Library supports our faculty, students and employees in teaching, research and service related activities through the responsible, good faith exercise of fair use rights as codified in copyright law 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
The purpose of this guide is to provide faculty members with basic information about copyright law and specific exceptions that apply to educational use. This guide is not meant to offer or substitute for legal advice.
The copyright law was originally created by Congress as a form of protection extended to the creators of "original works of authorship" both published and unpublished. The legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of information go beyond properly citing sources and avoiding plagiarism. Educators and researchers should be knowledgeable about issues relating to censorship, freedom of speech, intellectual property, copyright, and fair use. For the academic community there is a "fair use" exception to what is known as the permission requirement which applies as long as particular requirements of the copyright law are met. If they are not, permission must be sought.
The following tools provided by American Library Association, Office for Information Technology Policy will help in understanding a variety of copyright issues.
The Copyright Genie Useful in determining if a work is covered by U.S. copyright and in calculating the terms of protection.
Fair Use Evaluator Offers tips on understanding how to determine the "fairness" of a particular use under the U.S. Copyright Code.
Exceptions for Instructors eTool This online tool is used to determine if intended educational use of copyrighted material meets all requirements.
The Copyright Act contains specific limitations on a copyright owner's exclusive rights when the intended use is by non-profit educational institutions. These provisions include: