United States copyright law is contained in Title 17 of the U. S. Code. Copyright in the United States is administered by the U.S. Copyright Office, which is a part of the Library of Congress.
The last general revision to copyright law was the Copyright Act of 1976. Since then, Congress has passed legislation changing the provisions of the copyright law, including:
Copyright law gives the owner of the copyright exclusive rights to the duplication, distribution, derivation, display, and public performance of a copyrighted work. Congress first enacted copyright legislation in 1790, and the copyright law is detailed in Title 17 of the U. S. Code.
All works created in any tangible medium of expression can be copyrighted. Copyrighted works fall into one of these 8 categories:
Ideas, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries are not protected.
Certain categories of work fall are considered to be in the public domain, and thus can be copied without permission. Is a work in the public domain? Check the FRIDGE!
A work is copyrighted the moment it becomes tangible. It is no longer necessary to register a copyrighted work with the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress, although copyright owners should still do so for their own protection.
The Fair Use Exemption allows for the use of copyrighted works without permission under certain, limited circumstances. Section 107 of the copyright law lists four factors to be considered in determining fair use:
Section 110 of Title 17 allows for the use of legally reproduced works to be used in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction in the course of face-to-face teaching at a nonprofit educational institution. This section also expands exemptions to educators for digital transmission of public displays and performances. The exemption applies as long as there is no direct or indirect admission, it is a regular part of the instructional activities, and it is directly related to the teaching content. The TEACH Act extends this exemption to include distance education. Digital transmission must be at the direction of the instructor and it must be an integral part of the class session. The transmission must be limited to student officially enrolled in the course.
Permission to use a copyrighted work must be obtained from the actual copyright holder. Communicate with the owner the exact type or right you need, the purpose for which the material will be copied, and the time limits on your use.
The 1981 Guidelines for Off-Air Recording of Broadcast Programming for Educational Purposes outline the circumstances under which such recordings can be used. The record program must:
Repetitive use in the classroom, in Blackboard, or for library reserves normally requires permission from the owner of the copyright.
Students should not be charged more than the actual cost of making the copies. Students should also be advised that they may not make additional copies of the material without permission or clearance.
Lab manuals, standardized tests, and workbooks fall into the category of consumable works. Normally, copying from these requires permission of the copyright owner.
Creating a collected work or anthology generally requires permission of all the copyright holders included in the book.
A single copy may be made of the following for individual use in research , teaching, or to perform the functions of the job:
Normally, copying sheet music requires permission. Copies can be made for performance in the case of emergencies. These copies should be replaced by purchased copies as soon as possible.
Copyright protection remains in force even when a work is out of print. Copyright clearance is still necessary, unless the copying falls under the Fair Use provisions.