The Copyright Act, the federal statue establishing the terms of copyright protection, has its basis in the United States Constitution, which confers upon Congress the power “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors… the exclusive Rights to their… writings”. Art. I , Sect.8. The Copyright Act protects all types of expression or authorship fixed in any tangible medium, including written works, paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, recorded music, sheet music, computer programs, video games, architectural design and choreography.
Copyright law conveys certain exclusive rights to the copyright holders, including the following rights: copying their works, making derivative works, distributing their works, and performing their works. These rights exist from the moment a work is created, whether or not a copyright notice appears on the work. It is always best to assume that the provisions of copyright law protect any materials being used for instructional purposes, unless the materials are explicitly identified as belonging in the public domain.

Copyright protection does not extend to works in the public domain which include: (1) works for which the applicable term of copyright protection has expired; (2) works published by the federal government (e.g.,published by the Centers for Disease Control or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association); (3) works that lack sufficient originality or expression to qualify for copyright protection (e.g., unadorned calendars, indices, phonebooks, databases); and (4) works expressly donated to the public domain.  Such works may be copied and used without the permission of the author or publisher.

These rights exist from the moment a work is created, whether or not a copyright notice appears on the work. It is always best to assume that the provisions of copyright law protect any materials being used for instructional purposes, unless the materials are explicitly identified as belonging in the public domain. In using copyrighted materials for instructional purposes, even under "fair use" guidelines, it is always wise to acknowledge the copyright owner in a very clear way.


Fair use: a limited exemption
Copyright law does allow limited copying, distribution, and display of copyrighted works without the author's permission under certain conditions known as "fair use."

The Fair Use Statute

The following is the full text of the Fair Use Statute of the U. S. Copyright Act.:

Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

But note that the concept of "fair use" provides limited exemption, and does not encompass wholesale copying and distribution of copyrighted work for educational or any other purpose without permission. Copying for an educational or scholarly purpose is not per se a “fair use.”
Copyright law does not specify the exact limitations of fair use. Instead, the law provides four interrelated standards or tests, which must be applied in each case to evaluate whether the copying or distributing falls within the limited exemption of fair use.

Here are the four standards:

1. The purpose and character of the use.
Duplicating and distributing selected portions of copyrighted materials for specific educational purposes falls within fair use guidelines, particularly if the copies are made spontaneously, for temporary use, and not as part of an anthology.

2. The nature of the copyrighted work.
Fair use applies more readily to copying paragraphs from a primary source than to copying a chapter from a textbook. Fair use applies to multimedia materials in a manner similar if not identical to print media.

3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
Copying extracts that are short relative to the whole work and distributing copyrighted segments that do not capture the “essence” of the work are generally considered fair use.

4. The effect of use on the potential market for or value of the work.
If copying or distributing the work does not reduce sales of the work, then the use may be considered fair. Of the four standards, this is arguably the most important test for fair use.

Guidelines for Reproduction of Copyrighted Materials

1. Copying

Following the “fair use” guidelines, segments of copyrighted print, electronic, music and multimedia materials may by captured, copied, digitized, transformed to another medium, or manipulated for educational purposes only,by members of the Lawrenceville community. Burning CDs of copyrighted music and some file sharing may not be covered under Fair Use.

2. Acknowledgement
The holder of the copyright to each copied segment must be clearly and prominently acknowledged on or next to the print or digitized material, even when “fair use” guidelines are observed. Information to include would be title, author, publisher, place of publication, date of publication, and page numbers. To encourage students to abide by the school’s academic honesty policy, all materials reproduced should be cited such that the source can be acknowledged using an established format. See the Bunn Library's Citation Guide web page for detailed citation formats.

Example of a full acknowledgement:

This material has been reproduced from Random Reminiscences of Men and Events by John D. Rockefeller (Tarrytown, NY: Sleepy Hollow Press and Rockefeller Archive Center, 1984), page 86.

3. Incorporating copyrighted materials into new works
Segments of print or digitized material may be incorporated into papers and projects for instructional and scholarly purposes. Permission must be sought to use digitized materials in works that are circulated beyond the original educational setting or that may have commercial value.

4. Network access to materials reproduced in Haiku or internal web pages
Network access, including World Wide Web access, to copyrighted material reproduced and posted to Haiku or other intranet sites is restricted to the Lawrenceville campus network. Such digitized collections are accessible temporarily and for instructional purposes only by Lawrenceville students and faculty. Prominent notice must be given that such study materials may not be downloaded, retained, printed, shared, or modified, except as needed temporarily for specific academic assignments.

5. Personal and course Web pages
Faculty and students who create Web pages must respect the rights of copyright holders. At a minimum, the same considerations that apply to written reproduction apply to electronic reproduction.

6. Images
When using images in websites or other publications, a good rule of thumb is the smaller the image, the more that image qualifies under “fair use”, in fact thumbnail images under 125x125 have been cleared as fair use, as they are not suitable for sale as prints. Larger images tend to be protected under fair use if they are displayed in a secure medium (password protected) like Haiku.


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a US Copyright law which “criminalizes production and dissemination of technology whose primary purpose is to circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.”
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