Missouri State University

Use of Copyrighted Materials for Educational and Research Purposes

Policy statement

It is the policy of the University to respect the copyright protections given by federal law to owners of intellectual property, including books, journals, music, art, multi-media materials, digital materials and software (“Copyright-Protected Materials”). All individuals (whether or not employed by, compensated by or enrolled at the University), participating in a sponsored project and/or making significant use of University resources (“Individuals”) are expected to act as responsible users of Copyright-Protected Material, which includes making informed, good faith decisions that comply with Federal Copyright Law, as contained in Title 17 of the U.S. Code (“Copyright Law”). It is against University policy for Individuals to use University resources such as equipment, services, or facilities to access, use, copy, reproduce, distribute, or display Copyright-Protected Materials except as permitted under copyright law. Application of the legal principle of “fair use” or other exemptions under Federal Copyright Law which protect many teaching and learning activities; obtaining the permission of the copyright holder; or receiving a license to use Copyright-Protected Materials; are ways to address the federal copyright requirements. It is the individual responsibility of faculty, staff, students and other individuals to comply with this policy. The University may monitor use of Copyright-Protected Materials pursuant to this policy, including, but not limited to, reviewing items placed on reserve at the library, items on e-reserve, or any University web sites, social media sites and blogs.

Violations of the copyright law may result in civil and criminal penalties, including imprisonment. The University regards violation of its policy as a serious matter. Any such violation is without its consent and is subject to appropriate disciplinary action or sanction ranging from loss of access to the relevant University services or property (including computing privileges) to dismissal or removal from the University as determined by applicable employment or student disciplinary policies. For other policies related to computer use, consult Information Technology Policies.

Reason or purpose for policy

Missouri State University holds that the creation, discovery and dissemination of knowledge are central to the achievement of the University’s mission. The University’s community shares both an interest in the protection of intellectual property as a creator of such property and in the fair use of copyrighted works in the daily pursuit of research, teaching, learning and public service. For information regarding the creation of intellectual property consult the Intellectual Property Policy.

Copyright law protects original works of authorship and governs reproduction of these works. It is the policy of Missouri State University to promote understanding of copyrights and compliance with all applicable provisions of copyright law, including exercise of the exemptions accorded to users of copyrighted works.

Overview of Copyright and Fair Use:

Copyright protection is provided by the copyright laws of the United States to the authors of "original works of authorship" and extends automatically to any such work that is "fixed" in a tangible form of expression. This fixation need not be directly perceptible as long as it can be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Since March 1, 1989, no notice of copyright is required. Copyright protection applies to a variety of creative works, both published and unpublished. Examples include printed materials, sound recordings, video recordings, visual artworks, computer software, Web pages, and multimedia works. Copyrighted works are protected irrespective of the medium in which they are created or reproduced. Digital works and works transformed into a digital format are extended copyright protection. University personnel are directed to the Missouri State University Web Guidelines for additional information.

A copyright owner is granted certain exclusive rights of reproduction, preparation of derivative works, distribution, display, and performance. However, these rights are not unlimited in scope. Certain provisions of the law establish limitations on these rights. The Fair Use exemption (Section 107, U.S. Copyright Law) permits limited reproduction of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, without the permission of the copyright owner. However, nonprofit educational use does not automatically establish a condition of fair use, nor does the law provide clear directives for individual situations. Instead, a determination of fair use must be made on a case-by-case basis, considering the following factors:

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

Not all intellectual property is subject to copyright protection. Patents and trademarks are covered by other legislation. Licensed resources may have specific contractual terms, other than or in addition to copyright protection, which affect their use and corresponding definitions of infringing actions. Works in the public domain may be used freely. Examples of such works are most U.S. government documents, works on which copyright has expired, and works which authors specifically designate as in the public domain. Free access to a work, as on an Internet site, does not automatically place it in the public domain.

Entities affected by this policy

All individuals (whether or not employed by, compensated by or enrolled at the University), participating in a sponsored project and/or making significant use of University resources are subject to this policy.