The purpose of this guide is to provide RHIT faculty, staff, and students with a basic understanding of copyright law. The information listed in this guide does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion. The person using copyrighted works is responsible for his/her actions.
Copyright is a federal law (Title 17 of the United State Code) that provides the copyright holder with exclusive rights to control use of his/her original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression for a limited period of time. The copyright holder also has the ability to benefit, monetarily and otherwise, from the use of his/her works. The copyright holder’s exclusive rights include the right to reproduce the work, distribute the work, create derivative works, publicly perform the work, and publicly display the work.
Copyright protects both published and unpublished works. Literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, architectural, and cartographic works are copyright protected along with motion pictures and other audiovisual works, sound recordings, and pantomimes. Thus, books, journals, magazines, newspapers, reports, maps, charts, photographs, graphic materials, computer programs, computer software, standards, video files, sound recordings, motion pictures, sculptures, and other artistic works are covered. Copyright does not protect unfixed works, short phrases, ideas, procedures, methods, system processes, titles, names, data, facts, or works in the public domain.
Under U.S. law, works created on or after January 1, 1978, have different time periods of protection. Works authored by an individual author are protected for the length of the author’s life plus 70 years after the author’s death. Works authored as a work-for-hire (created by a company or other organization) are protected for 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first.
· Assume all works are covered by copyright unless you own the copyright or it is in the public domain.
· Ensure that you have the needed copyright permissions prior to copying (photocopying, downloading, uploading, etc.) or distributing (reposting, e-mailing, texting, sharing, etc.) the copyrighted work. Since copyright permissions are granted on a per-use basis, you will need to obtain them each time you use the work (new term, new class, etc.).
· Allow sufficient time to request and process copyright permission requests.
· Keep a records of all copyright permissions you have obtained.
· Leverage the Logan Library’s licensed collections (databases, e-books, e-journals, etc.). You can share links to these works in Moodle.
· Link to digital, copyrighted content (e-journal, e-book, web image, website, etc.) and fully cite the source rather than copy or distribute the copyrighted content. Stream video and audio files rather than allow them to be downloaded.
· Never post copyrighted materials in a public online space (web, social media, etc.), unless you have obtained copyright permission to do so.
· If you created a work and you wish to have someone else published it, ensure that you fully understand and agree with the publisher's agreement terms prior to accepting (signing, clicking) it. If you wish to have better terms, include them in your agreement prior to signing the agreement. Be aware that some publishers will only publish your work if they become the copyright owner of your work .
· If you have copyright questions, contact the Library Director.