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Copyright Basics for Faculty, Staff, and Students: How to Comply

Permissions

For materials that do not meet the Fair Use criteria, it is the responsibility of the person wanting to use the copyrighted material to request permission for its use.  Faculty seeking permission for materials that will be used as part of a class should contact the Library for assistance in obtaining permission.

To determine the copyright ownership and learn how to request permission, see the instructions on the sites below.

Note: Linking to a free internet source (at its original URL) does NOT violate copyright and is, in fact, encouraged.

For information on linking to resources in Library databases (such as EBSCOhost), see the help guide below.

Copyright permission may be required if you need to make a copy (paper or electronic) of an article for your class, in a course pack, for Library reserve, or any other use. The Library can attempt to obtain permission for you to use most book chapters, magazine, journal or newspaper articles. Permission must be obtained each semester. Contact Dana Tuley-Williams (dtuley@occc.edu), Systems Librarian, x7390 with as much information as possible on the article to be used, including publication title, article title, date, author, page numbers and ISSN as well as the number of students in the class and if the material will be distributed electronically or on paper.

Using Internet Resources

Digital or electronic content, such as e-books, photographs on Web sites and electronic databases are subject to the same protections under the Copyright Act as non-digital, traditional or analog works. In addition, there are specific provisions relating to digital content in the 1998 amendment to the Copyright Act by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Many people assume that online content, or content found on Web sites, is not subject to copyright law and may be freely used and modified without permission.  Others think that online content is not protected unless it carries a copyright notice. Neither is true.  However, linking to a free Internet source (at its original URL) does NOT violate copyright.

Copyright law protects almost all content on the Web or in any other digital or electronic form regardless of a copyright notice. Therefore, permission is most likely required to use that work beyond fair use.

Any copyright-protected content in a non-digital form is also protected in digital form.

OCCC Copyright Policy

The OCCC Copyright policy may be found here: 

Library Reserves & Electronic Resources

Materials placed on traditional reserve are available to students in print at the OCCC Library. The Library can place purchased materials on reserve without obtaining copyright permission. However, making multiple copies of such materials and placing those copies on reserve does require copyright permission, in most cases. Print copies of articles on reserve are limited to one semester or less unless permission has been obtained. Contact a librarian or the Library Director if you wish to keep any article on reserve more than one semester.

Course Packs

Prior to 1991, it was believed that academic course packs comprised of photocopies qualified as fair use. As a result, course pack anthologies were often compiled and distributed without the permission of copyright holders. 

In 1991, a federal trial court ruled that Kinko's copying of portions of books for use in an academic course pack was not fair use.

Photocopying materials for academic course packs requires permission from the copyright holder or its agent.  Without this permission, both the copy shop and the academic institution that orders the course packs risk being found liable for copyright infringement.

E-course packs, like their paper-based counterparts, require copyright permission from the copyright holder or its agent.

The course instructor is responsible for obtaining the necessary rights to include copyrighted material in a course pack. The course pack producer (copy shop) could be held liable for producing (copying) any materials without the necessary permission.  On many materials, the Library can provide assistance in obtaining permission. When requesting copyright permission for course pack materials, be sure to include:

  • As much information as possible about your specific use (photocopy, intranet posting or use with a course management system),
  • The length of time you wish to use the materials, and
  • The number of students expected to have access to these works.

There may be alternatives for providing articles such as embedding permanent links to the articles within online course materials. For more information on this, contact a librarian.