What is Copyright?
The United States Copyright office provides a description of the Copyright Law (Title 17 of the United States Code) in their Circular 1. The Copyright Office has posted a summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The durations of copyrights as set by the Sonny Bono Term Extension act have been posted in a table prepared by Laura N. Gasaway, Director of the Law Library and Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina.
What are the "Classroom" exemptions?
Section 110 of the Copyright Law contains exemptions that allow nonprofit education institutions some limited rights to use copyrighted materials in face-to-face classroom settings and also some more restricted rights to transmit some types of copyrights works.
NEW - The "Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act", commonly referred to as the TEACH Act completely revises Section 110(2) of the Copyright Law to address use of copyrighted material for distance education. The ALA and the University of Texas have posted information regarding this important new legislation.
What is the "Fair Use" exemption?
Section 107 of the Copyright Law allows for the use of copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owner(s) for scholarly research, educational, and other purposes.
In an attempt to aid in understanding and following "Fair Use" law, the University of Texas' Intellectual Property Office has posted Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials and the Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis' Copyright Management Center has posted a Checklist for Fair Use.
Some Guidelines to the Exemptions:
- The U.S. Copyright Office Circular 21 "Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians" provides guidelines on Fair Use drawn from various Senate and House Reports.
- Various education, publishing, broadcast, government, and private organizations assisted in the development of and have endorsed the "Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia" from the Consortium of College and University Media Centers.
- The University of Texas' Office of General Counsel has posted the CONFU: Conference on Fair Use proposed guidelines for Fair Use for Educational Multimedia, Distance Learning, and Digital Images. However, a consensus of the CONFU participants could not be reached on the above guidelines and none were formerly adopted by CONFU.