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Faculty Teaching and Research Support: Copyright Law

Reference Tools, Research, Faculty

Copyright Resources

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Copyright Research guide provides copyright information related to the use of Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library resources and copyright law.

U.S. Copyright Act: Fair Use

Read the full text of the U.S. Copyright Act Section 107 at Copyright.gov.

Section 107 of the US Copyright Act covers Fair Use. Section 107 sets four factors that must be weighed and balanced to determine fair use of copyrighted resources.

  1. The Purpose and character of the use
  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
  4. The Effect on the use upon the market/value of the copyrighted work

Crews, K. (2012). Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators. Chicago: American Library Association.

U.S. Copyright Act: Libraries

Read the full text of the U.S. Copyright Act Section 108 at Copyright.gov.

Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act covers special provisions for libraries. 

  • A library is allowed to reproduce a single copy of a work and distribute it, under the conditions specified by this section, if— 
    • the copy is made without any purpose of direct, or indirect commercial advantage;
    • the collections of the library is open to the public, or available to other persons doing research in a specialized field; and
    • the reproduction includes a notice of copyright , or includes a legend stating that the work may be protected by copyright.
  • A library is allowed to reproduce three copies of an unpublished work for purposes of preservation, if—
    • the copy reproduced is currently in the collections of the library or archives; and
    • any such copy that is reproduced in digital format is not otherwise distributed and is not made available to the public outside the premises of the library.
  • A library is allowed to reproduce three copies of a published work duplicated solely for the purpose of replacement of a copy that is damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen, or if the existing format in which the work is stored has become obsolete, if—
    • the library has determined that an unused replacement cannot be obtained at a fair price; and
    • any such copy that is reproduced in digital format is not made available to the public in that format outside the premises of the library.
  • The rights of reproduction and distribution under this section apply to a copy, made from the collection of a library where the user makes his or her request of no more than one article or other contribution to a copyrighted collection or periodical issue, or to a copy of a small part of any other copyrighted work, if—
    • the copy becomes the property of the user, and the library has had no notice that the copy would be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research; and
    • the library displays prominently, at the place where orders are accepted, and includes on its order form, a warning of copyright.

Additional guidelines for libraries can be found at Section 108 at Copyright.gov.

TEACH (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization) Act

Read the full text of the TEACH Act (Public Law 107-273, Section 13301) at Copyright.gov.

The TEACH Act applies the classroom teaching exemption (Section 110 of the Copyright Act) to distance learning. Through this, "reasonable portions" of copyrighted works can be transmitted electronically to students using similar guidelines to what is allowed for classroom teaching. Such transmissions must be made  under the supervision of the instructor as part of the instructional activities and must be directly related to the class. Retention after the end of the class or further dissemination of the copy is not allowed.

LaFrance, M. (2011). Copyright law in a nutshell (2nd Ed.). St. Paul, MN: West.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

Read the full text of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act at Copyright.gov.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act set rules and penalties to protect copyrighted materials on the internet. 

1. Section 512 limited the liability of internet service providers (ISPs) for copyright infringement by the ISP's users.

2. Section 1201 prohibited the circumvention of technological devices used by copyright owners to protect the digitized work from unauthorized access and copying.

3. Section 1202 prohibits the falsifying or unauthorized alteration or removal of copyright information attached to a copyrighted work.

LaFrance, M. (2011). Copyright law in a nutshell (2nd Ed.). St. Paul, MN: West.

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