May I make copies of works and distribute them to my class?
§ 107 of U.S. copyright law explicitly authorizes the making of multiple copies of copyrighted works for classroom use, provided the purpose of the copies, the nature of the original work, the amount and substantiality of the portion of the work being copied, and the effect on the potential market for or value of the original work are all in keeping with the principles of fair use. For help making a fair use determination, please see the Columbia Copyright Advisory Office's Fair Use Checklist. Go to the Fair Use section of this guide for more information.
May I upload journal articles and/or book chapters to Blackboard or Moodle?
Although there is no provision in U.S. copyright law for "e-reserves" or uploading materials to course management systems like Blackboard or Moodle, recent court decisions such as such as Cambridge Press v. Georgia State University indicate that judges are likely to see this activity as clearly permissible provided the purpose of the use, the nature of the original work, the amount and substantiality of the portion of the work being used, and the effect on the potential market for or value of the original work are all in keeping with the principles of fair use. That said, a safer alternative is linking to journal articles within Hoover Library's databases.
For help making a fair use determination, please see the Columbia Copyright Advisory Office's Fair Use Checklist, or check out our guide section on fair use.
What kind of statement should I include in my Blackboard class when I post copyrighted materials?
Here is an example you can use and modify:
All readings posted on Blackboard are intended for use in this class only. Copying, e-mailing, or posting these materials online for any other purpose without the copyright holder's express written consent may be prohibited by law. For more information about copyright, including information about how to obtain permission to use a copyrighted work, please see the U.S. Copyright Office's Frequently Asked Questions page: https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/
May I create "coursepacks" containing copyright material and ask students to reimburse me for the cost?
Court decisions like Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Co. and Princeton University Press v. Michigan Document Services, Inc. seem to clearly indicate that any transaction involving money will be seen as "commercial," thus making it more difficult to support a claim that a coursepack constitutes a fair use.
If your pedagogical needs are such that a course packet is required, the College's Barnes & Noble bookstore has a partnership with an outside vendor called AcademicPub. AcademicPub will obtain the copyrights for your materials, develop your course packets for you and then make them available by purchase through the College bookstore. Use McDaniel College's custom URL to access AcademicPub. Please be aware that process time can take 4-6 weeks. Or, the bookstore also recommends Xanedu which contains materials that are already copyright cleared that faculty can use to put together coursepacks or custom e-books for your course.
However, instead of making students pay for course materials, consider linking to resources available in the Hoover Library's collections. Contact a librarian for help!
Who owns the copyright to my course materials?
As "original works of authorship" fixed in a "tangible medium of expression," course materials are definitely covered by copyright. The question is who owns them? § 101 of U.S. copyright law defines a "work made for hire" as "a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment" or "a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire."
Course materials produced by regular and adjunct faculty are likely to be seen as qualifying as "works made for hire" according to the above definitions. As such, according to § 201 of U.S. copyright law the copyright for these materials can be assumed to belong to the college or university which employs the professor who created the work(s) in question. Recent court decisions uphold this view, and also suggest that a general college or university policy is insufficient to override this "default setting" in the absence of signed, written instruments transferring copyright to the creator of the work.
Copyright/Fair Use Best Practices Steps
Purpose: These steps are written for all instructors and faculty to provide helpful information about some common best practices to follow when providing students with resources covered by Copyright laws.
These steps are meant to briefly outline current best practices for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice in any way.
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