Copyright Issues

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Printed Material

Altered Works

Scenario:

Someone in the Dean's Office found a great cartoon in a magazine and plans to scan it in, change a few words to make it applicable to the college, and put it in the next newsletter to recent grads.

Answer:

This is not done at the inspiration of a teacher or for a course in the university. This type of derivative work is not legal. Any change in format requires permission of the copyright holder as does changing anything in the work itself.

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Cartoons

Scenario:

Your students need additional work on media literacy, so you want to do a unit on editorial cartoons. You want to create a booklet of pertinent cartoons from various newspapers and websites for your students.

Answer:

Fair use does not allow copying to create, replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works. This also may involve putting the copyrighted material used for a class on an open website without technological means to restrict access to students in the class only.

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Cost of Making Copies

Scenario:

A faculty member wants to gather articles for students planning a debate, so he copies them at a local copy shop. The copies cost $4.57. To make matters simpler, the faculty member charges the students $5.00 and uses the extra funds to buy ribbons for the winners of the debate.

Answer:

Students may not be charged beyond the actual costs of the copies.

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Course Consumables

Scenario:

The biology series comes with a package of tests. The college buys one classroom package of the tests and duplicates enough additional copies so all students can take the test at the same time during finals week.

Answer:

You cannot copy from works intended to be consumable in the course of study. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets.

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Journal Articles for Classroom Use

Scenario:

The director of the writing center locates several Newsweek and Time editorials that are useful for teaching argumentation and instructs all writing tutors to copy them for resources to be used through all freshmen composition students who come into the center.

Answer:

Copying can't be at direction of higher authority. It must be at the inspiration of an individual teacher. Use must also be an integral part of a class session.

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Quantity Limited

Scenario:

A sociology faculty member uses magazines as primary resources, copying articles for discussion starters. So far this term she has copied eight articles to hand out to class. In the new issue of National Geographic, there are two articles about primitive societies that would be useful in discussions.

Answer:

This would exceed the 9-items-per-term limitation on copying for a class.

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Seeking Permission

Scenario:

A political science faculty member uses a poem with her students on conflict so she copies it off and gives it to them. It works so well that the next year she decides to repeat the activity.

Answer:

This violates the spontaneity use of copyright. You had time to seek permission for the second time you used it.

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Staff Development

Scenario:

The department chair reads an article on diversity appropriate for one of the college's fall orientation topics. He asks the secretary to make copies for all faculty in the department and place them in mailboxes before the meeting.

Answer:

Faculty are not enrolled in a class. Copying for staff development seldom gets a fair use exemption. This also violates the top-down prohibition.

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Textbooks

Scenario:

You found a good textbook for your distance education course, but you only want to use about half of the chapters. Rather than having the students or the university purchase the textbooks for each student, you create PDF files of the chapters you want to use and load them on your class Web site.

Answer:

You cannot scan and upload large parts of a textbook in lieu of purchasing it. This is considered an item "typically purchased or acquired by the students." You probably would be OK copying just a brief segment of the textbook, but not multiple chapters.

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