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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Copyright Q&A

by Jeanne Leader, Dean of Arts & Learning Resources at EvCC

The following is a brief Q&A from a previous 5 Star Consortium event regarding copyright. Please note, each faculty member should refer to their campus' policies & procedures regarding copyright information and regulations, as institutions may vary in specifics.


Q: If we do a project, and the students make a powerpoint using pictures & text from the same book or website and it goes over the 1000 word limit & 15 image limit, what should we report on?

A: This is a great example of how faculty can help by reviewing fair use guidelines with students early and often!  Rather than reporting a copyright infringement, I think the most appropriate course of action is for the project to be re-done (including citing all sources).

Q: When presenting lectures in class, can you use images from internet for presentation only? (Not for handouts)

Use the same fair use guidelines to determine if you should use the image.  Repeated use of any image is never a good idea; one time use may be ok.  It is always a good practice to first look for images that are labeled for noncommercial use.

Q: Copyright – how much on videos, pictures; text?

Most of the time, the answer to any copyright question is likely to be “maybe!”  Always consider the four factors of fair use:
  • What is your purpose in using the material? Are you going to use the material for monetary gain or for education or research purposes?
  • What is the characteristic nature of work – is it fact or fiction; has it been published or not?
  • How much of the work are you going to use? Small amount or large? Is it the significant or central part of the work?
  • How will your use of the work effect the author’s or the publisher’s ability to sell the material? If your purpose is for research or education, your effect on the market value may be difficult to prove. However, if your purpose is commercial gain, then you are not following fair use.
  • Fair use for educational purposes – I had always thought that the rules were guidelines pending the ability to demonstrate fair use, not hard and fast limits
These are indeed guidelines to consider carefully before using any material to which you do not own the copyright or have not be granted permission.  There is no guarantee that what you might consider to be fair use is not a copyright violation.  Click here to consider some scenarios.

The copyright info – What if I just have an article from an electronic journal that I want to create a PDF of and send to students. Is this ok?

If the journal allows you to save the article as a PDF, you may be within fair use guidelines to provide the article to students in one class and on a one time basis.  If you want to continue to use the article in subsequent courses, you should seek permission.  Check with your library about e-reserves as this might be another option for a specific journal.

Copyright – Who owns copyright for lecture slides & questions that I have developed for the course to share with the students? Am I allowed to use the same slides/questions at another institution without seeking permission?

If you developed the materials on your own time and with your own equipment, your ownership of the copyright should be clear.  If you were compensated for the development, the institution may own all or partial rights.  Check your faculty contract and any college policies about creative works. 

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