SVSU POLICY REGARDING COPYRIGHT - Rights and Responsibilities
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Copyright is based on the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8: "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." The United States Copyright Act of 1976 protects these rights.
Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute, perform, display, transfer ownership, rent or lend their creations.
Copyright thus provides the author of a creative work with the exclusive legal right to control the copying of that work.
Most major nations further observe the Berne copyright convention; in the USA, "almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989, is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not" (Templeton, 10 Big Myths About Copyright). Or, as Dr. Frederic Erbisch, Director of the Office of Intellectual Property at Michigan State University, put it, "everything copyrightable is copyrighted." This includes text, pictures, graphs, music, video, software, e-mail, etc. In other words, virtually all work by an author/creator is copyrighted the moment it is written or created. This includes student work.
The Copyright Term Extension Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 have extended the length of copyright protection and set limits for claims of copyright infringement for online service providers and educational institutions.
There is much discussion today about whether the concept of intellectual property is obsolete in the electronic age. However, several test cases have affirmed that copyright laws will be applied and enforced even as technology continues to change. The Saginaw Valley State University Internet and Electronic Communications Acceptable Use Policy governs current university use of Internet and electronic communications: "Users shall respect the legal protection provided by copyrights and licenses to programs, data and images."
he Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for Electronic Learners developed by the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) likewise affirms that "All citizens of the electronic community of learners have ownership rights over their own intellectual works" (Article I, Section 5), and "It shall be each citizen's personal responsibility to recognize (attribute) and honor the intellectual property of others" (Article II, Section 2).
Under the Copyright Act of 1976 cited above, educators enjoy special privileges:
Educators may use portions of copyrighted material if the purpose and character of the work is educational in nature, previously published, not a substantial part of the entire work and if the marketability of the work is not impaired by the use.
Thus, educators may use copyrighted materials as long as they meet Fair Use restrictions.
Fair Use for Educators
According to guidelines for Fair Use developed by a consortium of libraries, publishers, government agencies and software developers, four factors determine Fair Use:
These guidelines apply to all copyrighted materials, including all media:
Educational multimedia projects created under these guidelines incorporate students' or educators' original material, such as course notes or commentary, together with various copyrighted media formats including but not limited to, motion media, music, text material, graphics, illustrations, photographs and digital software which are combined into an integrated presentation (Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia).
For Internet sources, "access to works on the Internet does not automatically mean that these can be reproduced and reused without permission or royalty payment" (Fair UseGuidelines for Educational Multimedia). In fact, information on the WWW will be under copyright, unless otherwise noted.
Fair Use Facts
The following Fair Use Facts, from Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia, provide guidelines for instructional use of copyrighted materials:
The following limitations on the portion of the copyrighted work must be applied:
In all cases, educators and students must credit the sources and display copyright ownership information. See Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia for further information.
Making multiple copies for classroom use is likewise governed by Fair Use guidelines:
Fair Use Checklist
If the work is not copyrighted, it is not necessary to use this checklist; such documents do not require permission. (For materials available through the bookstore, the bookstore may require you to sign a statement that the relevant material is not copyrighted, indemnifying them should that issue be contested.) To determine whether other materials for classroom use fall under Fair Use, consider the following questions (adapted from Questions and Answers on Copyright for the Campus Community).
Answer YES or NO to each question as it applies to your material:
If the material is copyrighted and you answered YES to any question, it will be necessary to seek copyright permission to use the material.
NOTE: Copyright permission applies to one semester only. If the same material is to be used in subsequent terms, permission must again be acquired.
For more information regarding copyright laws and policies, please see the resources page.