Students both use and create copyrightable works and should therefore familiarize themselves with how to use other people’s works and how their works should be used. It is not always necessary to gain permission from a copyright holder to use a work. Within copyright law are various exceptions, one of which is Fair Use. Fair Use is a valid exception for most student uses of copyright protected material;
Section 107 of the Copyright Act lists the four factors which should be considered to determine whether a use is a Fair Use.
How does this apply to students?
In the event that a course case results from alleged improper use and Fair Use is used as a defense, an unofficial fifth factor comes into play. The judge who decides the outcome may consider if the alleged infringement was done in a way that seems wrong/bad. As a student, aim to always have motives that seem good and support Molloy's mission statement.
As students completing assignments and projects, you have the right to use parts of other people's work without gaining their permission. If you need to use works for reasons that are no longer educational, or the amount of the work that you wish to use is beyond what would be supported by fair use, or you would like to use the work for commercial purposes, then you need to ask permission from the owner of the copyright.
Here are some general rules;
We have Copyright signs in the Photocopy Area of the Library
In your daily life you create videos, photographs, blogs, emails, and you own the copyright to these things. Throughout the course of your studies, you also create copyrightable works. Some are more obviously creative such as poems, fiction, and artwork. But there will also be works such as class notes, papers, and group projects that may result in PowerPoint creations. All of these are copyrighted. An exception may be in classes where materials are shared between students or provided by the school, such as art classes. In those cases, check with your instructor whether you own your creations.
Now that you know that you own copyrighted material, re-read some of the earlier pages in this research guide and see how it applies to you. Then think about how you would want your classmates, and later your colleagues to respect your rights.
THESES AND DISSERTATIONS
One of the most important things created by students will be their THESIS.
How do you use someone else's thesis, and how should you expect yours to be used?
Fair use is the answer to both these questions. Donald Crews offers a free download of his guidebook Copyright Law & Graduate Research: New Media, New Rights, and Your New Dissertation. As Dr. Crews is a founding member of the copyright team at Columbia University, his work is recommended for all students who have to do a thesis. Dr. Crews states that it is best to gain permission if your work includes that of anyone else.
Additionally, while copyright registration is not a must, it is certainly suggested. Your dissertation has to be registered before you can file a lawsuit if any infringement occurs. Most dissertations are being published in ProQuest or in Open Access areas which have their own terms. You should carefully read any contract that you sign. You may want to retain the right to use chapters or passages for further scholarly work such as e-reserves for a course you are teaching, or presenting at a conference you are attending, or even following up with a book on the same topic.
Students can also use Creative Commons licenses to decide how the public will gain access to and use their copyrighted works. Creative Commons has six main licenses with varying degrees of usability such as allowing others to tweak and build on your work as long as they give you credit, or as long as they license their works the same way you did yours.