The following information is a condensed version of Copyright Guidelines for Classroom and General University Use adopted by Colorado State University in September 1996.
For a complete guidelines packet, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research at (970) 491-7194.
What Is Copyright?
Copyright protects original works of authorship. The copyright holder has the exclusive rights to:
- reproduce or copy
- produce derivative works based on the copyrighted work (right to modify)
- distribute copies of the work
- perform the work publicly
- display the work publicly
In general, before using or modifying any work, such as a portion of a book, a piece of artwork, a design, or a computer software program, copyright issues should be considered.
Who Owns the Copyright?
The author/creator, his or her employer, or the publisher may own the copyright. Many publishers require authors to assign copyright to them before they will publish it.
At a university level two situations often arise:
- The copyright works created by students are owned by the student, even if created with University faculty/staff input or University resources. If the student’s work is reproduced, modified, or incorporated into a publication, written permission from the student must be obtained.
- The University owns copyrights in works created with University resources by University faculty/staff while employed by Colorado State University (see Section J of the Faculty/Staff Manual.)
How does Copyright apply to Colorado State University faculty and staff?
Photocopying or other reproduction of copyrighted works raises important legal issues. Even in an academic or classroom setting, the law often requires permission for photocopying copyrighted works. The Fair Use doctrine set forth in the 1976 Copyright Act does not apply in many instances.
Under the law, the owner of copyrighted works has the right to prevent all others from copying or selling it. Accordingly, photocopying copyrighted works without obtaining permissions may violate the rights of the author/creator and is directly contrary to the academic mission to teach respect for ideas and the intellectual property that expresses those ideas. Infringement can result in an award of money damages against the infringing party.
Colorado State University employees have the responsibility when utilizing copyrighted materials to determine whether their use of the copyrighted materials would violate any copyright held by the author, or whether it would be considered fair use.
What Is Fair Use?
Basically, four factors determine fair use of copyrighted materials. They are:
- Purpose of the use – is it educational or commercial?
- The percentage of the material to be used in relation to the size of the entire work.
- Nature of the copyrighted work – is it factual vs. creative?
- Effect of the potential market for or value of the work. For instance, does copying reduce the potential profits of the copyright owner?
What Is Fair Use for Teaching Purposes?
There is a common misconception that “fair use” allows unlimited copying for teaching purposes. There are strict prohibitions against copying without permission in the following instances:
- Copying that is used to create, replace, or substitute for anthologies, collective works, etc.
- Copying that substitutes for purchase of books, publishers’ reprints, or periodicals.
- Copying that is repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from semester to semester.
- Copying of “consumables” such as workbooks, standardized tests, test booklets, answer sheets, etc.
- Copying of more than one short poem, article, story, or essay, or more than two excerpts from the same author in the same class term.
- Copying of more than three items from a collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
Can I Copy Films and Videotapes?
Possession of a film or videotapes does not confer the right to show the work. The copyright owner specifies at the time of purchase or rental the circumstances in which a film or video may be “performed.”
However, whatever their labeling or licensing, use of these media is permitted in an educational institution as long as certain conditions are met. Section 110 (1) of the Copyright Act of 1976 specifies that the following is permitted:
- Performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities if in a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction.
- The work shown must be a legitimate (not illegally reproduced) copy with the copyright notice included.
What About Computer Software?
When you buy software, you are actually acquiring a license to use the software from the company that owns the copyrights. The conditions and restrictions of the license agreement vary from program to program and should be read carefully, especially in regard to copy, backups, and archives.
- For software to be in the public domain it must be clearly marked as such. Unless explicitly designated as public domain, one should assume it is copyrighted.
- It is illegal to loan, lease, or rent Colorado State software for the purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage without specific permission of the copyright owner.
- You cannot assume that software may be copied for home use. Software licenses generally state how and where the software may be legally used by members of the relevant campus community (faculty, staff, and students).
What About the Internet?
In general, the Copyright Law applies equally to material that is on the Internet. Unless explicitly designated as public domain, one should assume it is copyrighted.
There is no prohibition against faculty members directing students to review particular websites. However, information available on the Internet may not be downloaded or otherwise copied or distributed without the permission of the copyright owner.
What Are the Consequences of Copyright Infringement?
An infringer of copyright is liable for either the copyright owner’s actual damages and/or any additional profits of the infringer or statutory damages.
Copyright infringement is illegal. What authors create and publishers publish, belongs to them and to reproduce that material without their permission is not only wrong, it is against the law.
Failure to obtain proper clearance may result in the potential of significant liability on the part of the faculty/staff member.
Where Do I Go for Copyright Assistance With A Course Packet?
To facilitate the use of copyright-protected materials in printed course packets, the Department of Communications and Creative Services at Colorado State University has established a process for assisting faculty and staff who are producing course materials.
Communications and Creative Services will:
- Contact the Copyright Clearance Center or the publisher for permission to copy the materials
- Initiate follow-up contact to ensure prompt service
- Calculate and pay the permission fees
- Any copyright permission fees assessed by the publisher or Copyright Clearance Center will be included in the student’s cost of the course packet, or will be billed to the faculty/staff member who initiated the process.
Copyright permission forms are available at all FastPrint centers, or by calling 491-6432, or click here to open and print a PDF version of the form. Once the forms are filled out, they will be processed as stated above.
Recommended deadline for getting copyright requests to Communications and Creative Services is eight weeks prior to the first day of semester. Orders received after the deadline will be processed as soon as possible for delivery on or near the first day of classes.
You may also obtain your own permission. A written permission must be included when submitting your class materials to be produced.
In order for a request to be processed, the following information is needed:
- title of book/journal/magazine
- article title/chapter title
- specific page numbers you’d like to reproduce
- copyright year
- ISBN/ISSN number (if available)
- please indicate if this book is currently out of print
Where Do I Go For Copyright Assistance with Film, Video, Computer Software, or the Internet?
Contact the Office of the Vice President for Research at (970) 491-7194.