Missouri State University

Copying Copyrighted Materials

Copying includes printing, photocopying and similar methods of mechanical duplication.
 It is not permissible to reproduce copyrighted materials without the written authorization of the copyright holder unless it qualifies under the copyright law's doctrine of "fair use."  

If there is any doubt about any material qualifying for "fair use", it should not be copied without permission from the copyright holder or without the approval of legal counsel. Assume that all material is copyrighted unless its source states clearly that is not.

Printing Services and Copy This will adhere to all guidelines governing copyrighted materials of any format whether, electronic, printed or in art form. Copyright Law (PL 94-5 53) Section 107 stipulates the criteria for educational institutions. Under the "Fair Use Law", all departments are responsible for securing written verification of copyright clearance.

What types of materials can be protected by copyright?
Types of work protected by copyright are literary productions such as books and articles, musical notation and recorded music, pictures and graphics, motion pictures and video footage, databases, web pages and computer programs. Even doodles, scribbles and graffiti can be covered. Copyright does not apply to facts, slogans, titles, simple phrases and works of the U. S. Government. This does not apply to works created by state, local or foreign governments.

When does the work receive protection under the copyright law?
Works are protected automatically as soon as they are created. It is no longer a requirement that a copyright notice be laced on a work or that the work be registered with the U. S. Copyright Office to receive protection. Including a copyright notice on your work and registering your work with the U. s. copyright Office does provide some legal and practical benefits to the originator of the work.

What is "fair use"?
You don’t need to get permission for all uses of copyrighted work. The law permits use of a portion of a work without the copyright owner’s permission for purposes such as teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, and comment. Four criteria must be considered when determining whether you are making "fair use" of a copyrighted work: (1) your purpose, including whether it is commercial or not-for-profit educational use; (2) the nature of the work itself; (3) the percentage of the work used; and (4) the effect of the use on the work’s market value.

These criteria allow teachers to distribute in their classes portions of works which are protected. Instructors generally don’t need permission to display copyrighted works in their classrooms, to distribute some portions of such works to their students, and to engage in one-use only copying. In addition, there are many "educational use exemptions" which allow the performance or display of copyrighted work during face-to-face teaching activities in a nonprofit educational institution.

However, you are not exempt from copyright laws simply because you are putting copied material to educational use, or because you are not selling or profiting from the distribution of copyrighted works. Your use must meet specific tests of brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect.

Where can I find answers to specific copyright questions?
In addition to discouraging copyright infringement, Missouri State wants to make available in its classrooms and through distance learning the best information available. In order to prevent conflict between legal restrictions and effective teaching, Missouri State provides a wide variety of information resources about copyright.

A useful booklet, Questions and Answers on Copyright, is available in Meyer Library and online. Librarians can direct you to resources which might answer particular questions.  Assistance in getting permissions is available through the Missouri State Bookstore. Academic Outreach provides help in obtaining clearance for the use of copyrighted material for Missouri State online courses.

When can I use a written work without the author’s permission?
When a work becomes “Public Domain” it is available for use without permission from a copyright owner. Most works enter public domain because their copyrights have expired.

To determine whether a work is in the  public domain and is available for use, you first have to determine when it was published. Then you can apply the following rules to see if the copyright has expired.

All work published in the United States before 1923 are in public domain. Works published after 1923, but before 1978 are protected for 95 years from the date of publication. If the work was created, but not published, before 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

For woks published after 1977, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. However if the work is a work for hire, that is the work is done in the course of employment or has been commissioned or is published anonymously or under a pseudonym, the copyright lasts between 95 and 120 years, depending on the date the work was published.

United States Copyright Office
www.copyright.gov/