Copyright Dos and Don'ts
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This is the "Copyright Law" page of the "Copyright Research Guide" guide.
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Copyright Research Guide  

Modified with permission from Ingrid Redman, Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology, NYU-Poly.
Last Updated: Feb 27, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Copyright Law Print Page


The purpose of this site is to provide faculty, staff and students at PVCC with an understanding of copyright law and fair use. While copyright issues can be complex, everyone needs to understand the basics. This site also includes copyright and fair use compliance guidelines for faculty.


Featured Book

Cover Art
Copyright Law and the Distance Education Classroom - Tomas A. Lipinski
Call Number: KF4209.E38 L57 2005
ISBN: 0810851717
Publication Date: 2004
As technology and the idea of distance education are rapidly changing, so too must the law that protects copyrighted material. In 2003, U.S. copyright law was amended with the legislation now known as TEACH (Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization). Lipinski discusses these changes to copyright law and how they will ultimately affect traditional distance classrooms. Copyright Law and the Distance Education Classroom provides a step-by-step explanation of the law and how it impacts these pedagogical issues. Also discussed are instructor ownership issues, a general application of "fair use," and other developments that will inevitably arise when technology, intellectual property, and education intersect.


Copyright Law Defined

Copyright law, as defined in Title 17 of the United States Code, protects "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression" for a limited period. Copyright protection includes, for instance, the legal right to publish and sell literary, artistic or musical work, and copyright protects authors, publishers and producers, and the public.  Copyright applies both to traditional media (books, records, etc.) and to digital media (electronic journals, web sites, etc.). Specifically, it protects the following eight categories of works:

  1. literary works
  2. musical works
  3. dramatic works
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works
  5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  7. sound recordings
  8. architectural works

Ownership of a copyrighted work includes the right to control the use of that work. Others may use the work, but to do so requires either permission from the author or reliance on the doctrine of fair use. Failure to do one or the other will expose the user to a claim of copyright infringement.


Copyright Basics Video


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