- Copyright Law Basics
U.S. Copyright Law dictates that copyrighted material in any form (print, audio, video, or digital) cannot be reproduced, distributed or displayed without the express permission of the publisher and/or owner of the copyright.
- Fair Use
“Fair Use” provides exemptions to Copyright Law for purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for in-classroom use), scholarship or research provided certain guidelines are followed. While Fair Use is intended to apply to teaching, research, and other such activities, educational purpose alone does not make a use “fair.” Please see the CETUS pamphlet on Fair Use of Copyrighted Works for more information on Fair Use Guidelines.
There are four factors, which must be taken into consideration when determining whether use of a work without the permission of the copyright holder meets the Fair Use Guidelines:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- The nature of the copyrighted work;
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The purpose of the media use (i.e., educational, non-profit) is only one of the four factors that must be considered when establishing fair use. Fair Use Guidelines dictate that only a portion of a copyrighted work may be duplicated/reproduced for educational purposes without the written consent of the copyright holder. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole must be considered when determining fair use. Generally speaking, only 10% of a copyrighted work can be reproduced for classroom instruction or educational purposes. This means, for example, that only six (6) minutes of a 60-minute video/audio tape or 30 photographs out of a textbook containing 300 photographs can be reproduced for distribution or display in the classroom.
- Media Installation
Commercial software may only be installed on one computer workstation per copy unless site or group licenses have been purchased. A back-up copy of the program may be made for archival purposes only. The license agreement that accompanies the program may further restrict usage or give the user additional rights and should be read carefully for this reason.
- Classroom Showings
Fair Use provides exemptions to Copyright Law for certain performances and displays when material is performed or displayed by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching in a classroom. This exception allows teachers to read from literary works, show videos, and play music directly related and of material assistance to the established teaching content. Films and other media cannot be displayed or performed for purposes of entertainment or reward or as part of a club activity.
- Off-Air Broadcast Recordings
According to Fair Use Guidelines, an off-air program (i.e., a television program transmitted by television stations for reception by the general public without charge) recorded simultaneously with broadcast transmission must be erased or destroyed forty-five (45) consecutive calendar days after it is recorded. An off-air video recording may be shown once per class and repeated once only when instructional reinforcement is necessary.Furthermore, an off-air video recording must be shown during the first ten (10) consecutive school [session] days in that forty-five (45) calendar day retention period. After the first ten (10) consecutive school days, off-air recordings may be used up to the end of the forty-five (45) day period only for teacher evaluation purposes (i.e., to determine whether or not to include the broadcast program in the teaching curriculum) and may not be used for student exhibition or any other non-evaluation purpose without obtaining permission from the copyright holder.
Off-air recordings may be made only at the request of and used by individual teachers, and may not be regularly recorded in anticipation of requests. No broadcast program may be recorded off-air more than once at the request of the same teacher, regardless of the number of times the program may be broadcast.
*This information is intended to provide copyright guidelines for RCCD faculty and staff and should not be considered legal advice. Please keep in mind that these guidelines are subject to change as new legislation is introduced and existing Copyright Law is changed.