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Copyright Basics for the Educators

The purpose of this guide is to provide faculty members with basic information about copyright law and the specific exceptions that apply to educational 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 the specific exceptions that apply to educational use. This guide is not meant to offer or substitute for legal advice.

Copyright Facts

Copyright is a legal protection extended to the creators of original works meant to ensure their right to be compensated under certain circumstances and provide an incentive to share their work and to grant others the right to use their work in certain ways. Whenever copyrighted works are used in the process of either teaching or research, these uses may conflict in some way with the copyright owner's exclusive rights. Specific rights are granted to copyright holders by the U.S. Copyright Act under title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Code. However, 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, then permission must be sought.

While technology has opened new avenues for sharing scholarly works with the public and other researchers, such as the Digital Commons platform at Molloy College, some publishers still rely on traditional publication agreements that do not include the newer models of disseminating information. The terms in these agreements vary widely and many require authors to forfeit their exclusive copyright.  The rights that the original creators still retain under such publication agreements will determine whether or not they would still be permitted to use their own works for other purposes, such as:

  • Displaying the work on a personal or online course website
  • Reuse of portions of the work in later publications
  • The right to distribute copies to colleagues​

More information regarding the legal specifics of copyright law are addressed in Title 17 of the United States Code:

Copyright Law of the United States (https://www.copyright.gov/title17/

 

 

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