Copyright, Fair Use, and the Library

Learn about Fair Use

Copyright @ James E. Tobin Library

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.

Copyright Law and Exemptions

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by Congress as a form of protection extended to the creators of "original works of authorship" both published and unpublished.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" exemption 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 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

Licensing agreements for Library's databases

The library has contractual agreements with various electronic resource vendors. These agreements restrict access to current Molloy students, faculty and staff. Certain licenses limit the number of simultaneous users and many contain provisions that underscore the importance of following the requirements of copyright law. Users are obligated to follow these copyright laws and to comply with the publisher’s guidelines.  The following set of copyright provisions from sage publications are typical for the industry:

  •  use must be personal, non-commercial, and within fair use limitations 
  • procedure guidelines if outside these uses;
  • correct attribution (citation);
  • exclusivity

See the below list of selected major vendors’ (licensors') terms & conditions or agreement samples.