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Copyright: Copyright

Copyright guidance for Shoreline Community College


The SCC library has developed a series of guidelines regarding copyright issues pertaining to educational materials. Read on to learn more about maintaining compliance with the laws and regulations that govern intellectual property rights. Please be aware that copyright rules change very frequently and that information in the copyright guide is not to be used as legal advice.

 For further reading or a detailed copy of the Guide please read:SCC LIBRARY COPYRIGHT INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE 


Copyright is part of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) and international law that grants rights and protection to authors and developers of creative works. Rights granted include:

  • reproduce the work;
  • prepare derivative works based upon the work;
  • distribute copies of the work to the public perform the work publicly,
  • display the copyrighted work publicly,
  • perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission and,
  • assign these rights to others.

It should be clear that copyright only protects works that are “fixed in a tangible form of expression.” Copyright does not protect ideas or processes (although processes can be patented).

To make use of copyright protected material without the consent of the author is a violation of the law. The exceptions to this are works that have passed into the public domain (over 70 years old) and works used in the manner prescribed under the Fair Use part of the copyright law.

For additional information on Copyright Basics, visit the U.S. Copyright Office, Copyright Basics Web site.

The concept of Fair Use refers to section 107 of the copyright law. It lays out in very broad terms the conditions under which it is permissible to use copyright protected materials without getting permission from the author or creator of the work. The following is an excerpt from the copyright law.

Use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

All four factors must be taken into account when considering using copyright protected material and each use must be considered individually.

There is a part of the copyright law (Section 504(c)(2)) that protects people operating under the reasonable assumption that they were operating under Fair Use. In order to qualify you need to be sure that you have carefully considered the criteria for fair use. When considering using copyright protected materials there are four criteria that need to be taken into consideration.

To view additional information on Fair Use, visit the University of Texas System Copyright Web Site.

For further reading or a detailed copy of the Guidelines >> SCC Copyright Guide.

Copyright Help

See also Public Performance Rights and Film