Electronic Publishing Oversite Committee
The MU Copyright Information Packet has been written to provide assistance understanding the issues involved with using copyrighted materials in an educational setting. Also a list of web addresses has been provided at the end of this packet that contain additional information about copyright laws and assistance obtaining permission to use copyright material. Unless otherwise noted, most of the information below has been paraphrased from the U.S Copyright Office web site.
What is copyright?
Copyright is "a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of 'original works of authorship,' including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works." This protection gives the owner of the copyright exclusive rights to the original work including the right to reproduce the work, to distribute copies of the work and to display the work publicly. It is illegal for anyone to violate these rights of the copyright owner. However, these rights do allow for some exemptions such as the "Fair Use" doctrine discussed below. Copyright protection on works created after January 1, 1978, generally lasts for 50 years after the death of the author. Copyright in works created by businesses, rather than individuals, or before 1978 can last for 75 years from publication. After a work is no longer protected, it falls into the public domain. Registration with the Copyright Office is not required in order for a work to be protected under U.S. copyright law.
Who owns the copyright?
(1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or
(2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work.
Ownership rights of works created at Marshall University by Marshall University employees is discussed in Marshall Universitys Executive Policy Bulletin No. 9. In short, any work created while the author was financially supported by the university, and if he/she used university facilities, materials or time is owned by the university. However, if the university decides not to request ownership rights the ownership will be released to the author. This policy includes the content of web pages, E-Courses, video based lectures, email messages, etc as long as the content was created on behalf of the university. For example, an email message of a personal nature would not be the ownership of the university but an email message outlining the admissions process to a prospective student would be the ownership of the university.
What can be copyrighted?
(1) literary works;
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works
(7) sound recordings
(8) architectural works
Works not eligible for copyright protection include:
(1) Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression, (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded)
(2) Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
(3) Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration
(4) Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)
What is fair use?
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or 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
the effect of the use upon the
potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is
unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made
upon consideration of all the above factors.
What is public domain?
How do I obtain copyright permission?
What do I do if someone has committed copyright
Where can I find more information about copyright protection?
U.S. Copyright Office
Digital Millenium Copyright Act summary (http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/legislation/dmca.pdf)
U.S. Copyright Law
Series #13, 36, 43, 46, 48, 55, 56, 64
Executive Policy Bulletin #9, 13; The Marshall University Greenbook