The purpose of this guide is to provide faculty, staff, and students at CCAC with an understanding of copyright law and fair use.
While copyright issues can be complex, everyone needs to understand the basics. Failure to comply with copyright law can lead to substantial legal penalties for both you and the university.
This guide also includes copyright and fair use compliance guidelines for faculty.
The guide includes information on:
This guide is designed to provide basic, general information about copyright, and does not constitute legal advice. The links to third party sites in this guide are provided for your convenience. CCAC does not take responsibility for the content of these other sites. If you have a question about a specific copyright issue not addressed by this guide, the Libraries encourage you to seek further advice.
Copyright is a set of rights 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, audiovisual and certain other works, including software.
This protection is available to both published and unpublished works that are fixed in a tangible medium. Copyright does not protect ideas; it protects the expression of ideas.
The law gives the owner of copyright the following exclusive rights:
• To reproduce the work (i.e. to make copies);
• To prepare derivative works (i.e. to make a movie from a book or to translate a work into another language);
• To distribute copies publicly;
• To perform the work publicly (i.e. a play or movie);
• To display the work publicly; and
• In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of
a digital audio transmission.
The owner of the copyright may transfer all or part of these rights to others. See the section on Author Rights.
Subject to some exceptions described in this guide (including fair use), if a person exercises any of these rights in another’s work without permission, the person may be liable for copyright infringement.
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.). Copyright protects the following eight categories of works:
Ownership of a copyrighted work includes the right to control the use of that work. Use of such work by others during the term of the copyright 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 for which the law provides remedies including payment of money damages to the copyright owner.
This guide has been created by Community College of Allegheny County Library and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
This guide is derived from Polytechnic Institute of New York University's Copyright and Fair Use LibGuide and Boston College's Copyright and Scholarship LibGuide, and where applicable, content has been used with permission.