Copyright law gives users the right to use copyrighted material without permission under certain circumstances. These provisions are often called exceptions and limitations to copyright law. In the U.S., they include fair use, certain uses during face-to-face teaching and distance education, and certain uses by libraries and archives. Other countries have different rules about users’ rights. Module 4 of Copyright for Librarians provides an overview of the international landscape. It was produced by Electronic Information for Libraries and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
If your planned use implicates one of the rights of copyright holders and does not fall under a user right, you will need to get permission from the copyright holder or change your plans.
Fair use allows certain uses of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder. There are four factors to consider when determining whether your use is a fair one. You must consider all the factors, but not all the factors have to favor fair use for the use to be fair.
The four fair use factors are
Fair use favors “purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, [and] research.” While many uses for educational purposes are fair, not all are. You need to evaluate your use each time you are reproducing copyrighted material — to show in your class, to hand out copies, to include in your writing, or to post on your course website.
Fair use is codified at 17 U.S.C. § 107.
US copyright law permits teachers and students to make certain uses of copyrighted works in face-to-face teaching. As a teacher or student, you are allowed to perform or display a copyrighted work without permission in “a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction” during face-to-face teaching at a nonprofit educational institution.
If the work is a motion picture or other audiovisual work, you must use a copy of the work that was lawfully made.
This is codified at 17 U.S.C. § 110(1).
US copyright law gives teachers the right to use works for distance learning without permission under certain circumstances.
and the copyrighted work
and your use is:
and your institution
then US copyright law permits your use.
This provision, which is sometimes called the TEACH Act, is codified at 17 U.S.C. § 110(2).
The US Copyright Act grants qualified libraries and archives certain rights to reproduce and distribute copyrighted works. These rights are codified at 17 U.S.C. § 108.
A library or archive qualifies for these rights if the
In addition, these rights do not apply if the library or archives, or its employee, “is aware or has substantial reason to believe that it is engaging in the related or concerted reproduction or distribution of multiple copies or phonorecords of the same material” or “engages in the systematic reproduction or distribution of single or multiple copies or phonorecords of material described in subsection (d): provided, that nothing in this clause prevents a library or archives from participating in interlibrary arrangements that do not have, as their purpose or effect, that the library or archives receiving such copies or phonorecords for distribution does so in such aggregate quantities as to substitute for a subscription to or purchase of such work.”
A qualified library or archives is entitled to make up to three copies of an unpublished work currently in its collection “solely for purposes of preservation and security or for deposit for research use in another” qualified library or archives, so long as any copy “that is reproduced in digital format is not otherwise distributed in that format and is not made available to the public in that format outside the premises of the library or archives.”
A qualified library or archives is entitled to make up to three copies of a published work “solely for the purpose of replacement of a copy or phonorecord that is damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen, or if the existing format in which the work is stored has become obsolete,” so long as an unused replacement copy of the work cannot be obtained at a fair price and any copy “that is reproduced in digital format is not made available to the public in that format outside the premises of the library or archives in lawful possession of such copy.”
Upon request from one of its users or the user of another qualified library or archives, a qualified library or archives is entitled to make a copy of
So long as:
During the last 20 years of a work’s copyright term, a library or archives in entitled to “reproduce, distribute, display, or perform in facsimile or digital form a copy or phonorecord of such work, or portions thereof, for purposes of preservation, scholarship, or research, if such library or archives has first determined, on the basis of a reasonable investigation” that
These provisions are codified at 17 U.S.C. § 108.