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Copyright on Campus  

This guide provides an overview of copyright law and related resources. It also provides guidelines to help HCC faculty, staff and students comply with copyright law and college policies.
Last Updated: Dec 5, 2014 URL: http://howardcc.libguides.com/copyright Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Copyright & Fair Use Print Page

Copyright Law Title 17

The idea of copyright is in the US Constitution.

United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8.
The Congress shall have power...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.

Copyright law protects authors and their published and unpublished works that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, including:

  • literary works, such as poetry, novels
  • dramatic works, such as movies, plays
  • musical works, such as songs
  • artistic works, such as computer software, architecture

Copyright laws also address how works may be used in education setting.

According to the NC State University Tutorial: Using Copyrighted Works, if the work you wish to use is copyrighted and not covered by a license or conditions of use that you agreed to, you have the following options:


    Fair Use - Section 107

    Copyright law begins with the premise that the copyright owner has exclusive rights to many uses of a protected work. But it also sets forth several exceptions to those rights. The best-known and most important exception to owner's rights is fair use. Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 offers four broad criteria for applying fair use:

    1. The purpose and character of use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
    3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    These factors should be considered in determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use.


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    Alesia McManus
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    443-518-4634 or 443-518-1450 (Reference Desk)
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    Sample Copyright Statement

    The TEACH Act requires a copyright notice to be on online course websites.  The TEACH Act Toolkit offers the following sample copyright notice:

    "The materials on this course Web site are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated."



    I am not a lawyer and this guide does not constitute legal advice.   If you have legal questions, please contact a lawyer. 


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