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The Thomas University Library actively promotes compliance with the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C) in conjunction with Fair Use guidelines and prohibits copying or use of copyrighted materials not specifically permitted or exempted by law.

All reserve and interlibrary loan items must adhere to the United States Copyright Law.

+Reserve Use

It is the Library’s policy that a faculty member or department obtains permission from the copyright owner for reserve services when applicable. Documented proof of permission must be provided to the Library. All fees for copyright permission must be paid by the individual or the department to the copyright owner. The University places liability for willful infringement of copyright upon the person making or requesting the copy, or using the material. If concerns arise regarding an item’s copyright legality, library faculty or the university attorney will review copyright laws that pertain to the item or situation to determine whether or not the item can be used as intended.

Typically, you can place the following items on reserve without owner permission:

  • Single copies of an article
  • One chapter of a book
  • An entire poem

All items should contain a notice of copyright. All items shall become the personal property of the instructor at the end of the semester. If the item is to be placed on reserve every semester, advance written notice from the copyright owner is required.

+Interlibrary Loan Use

The library may photocopy for the purposes of Interlibrary Loan. More than five (5) requests from any one title published within the past five years from a magazine to which the library does not subscribe is considered excessive and interpreted as an evasion of the purchase of a periodical.

Copyright Infringement

Chapter 5 of Title 17 of the United States Code in part states:

§ 501. Infringement of copyright3

(a) Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 122 or of the author as provided in section 106A(a), or who imports copies or phonorecords into the United States in violation of section 602, is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may be. For purposes of this chapter (other than section 506), any reference to copyright shall be deemed to include the rights conferred by section 106A(a). As used in this subsection, the term “anyone” includes any State, any instrumentality of a State, and any officer or employee of a State or instrumentality of a State acting in his or her official capacity. Any State, and any such instrumentality, officer, or employee, shall be subject to the provisions of this title in the same manner and to the same extent as any nongovernmental entity.

(b) The legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled, subject to the requirements of section 411, to institute an action for any infringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it. The court may require such owner to serve written notice of the action with a copy of the complaint upon any person shown, by the records of the Copyright Office or otherwise, to have or claim an interest in the copyright, and shall require that such notice be served upon any person whose interest is likely to be affected by a decision in the case. The court may require the joinder, and shall permit the intervention, of any person having or claiming an interest in the copyright.

Full text of Chapter 5 can be found at the US Copyright Office website.

+Fair Use – US Code Title 17, Section 107

The Fair Use Doctrine limits the exclusive rights defined in Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Act and supports the use of copyrighted works in scholarship, teaching, and learning. Fair Use is the limited right of others to use copyrighted materials.

“Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright…”

Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law further states that there are four factors to be considered when deciding if Fair Use is applicable:

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

Fair use is applicable to both print and digital content. Fair Use must be considered when posting excerpts of copyrighted works in course management systems

Fair Use Checklist
The fair use checklist utilized within the University System of Georgia is a tool which can assist you in making a reasoned and balanced application of the four fair use factors in determining whether a given use of a work is a fair use. It outlines various circumstances that are important to the evaluation of fair use and derives from the four fair use factors and from judicial decisions interpreting copyright law. Faculty can fill out the checklist and keep it on file if questions arise about the particular classroom or other use.

+Teach Act

Digitized copyrighted materials are affected by the TEACH Act, regardless of the original format of the materials. The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act was enacted in November 2002 as an amendment to the Copyright Act of 1976. Found in section 110(2) of the Act, it covers distance education as well as face to face teaching which has an online, web enhanced, transmitted or broadcast component. It exempts from liability the transmission, including over a digital network, of a performance or display of a copyrighted work by an accredited non-profit educational institution to students officially enrolled in a course or a government body to officers or employees of government as a part of their official duties or employment.

+Helpful Links

Copyright Crash Course by University of Texas

Copyright Clearance Center and the Teach Act

North Carolina State University Teach Act Toolkit

Title 17 of the U.S. Code

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998

University System of Georgia Copyright, Fair Use, & Electronic Reserve Policy

(USG) Fair Use Checklist

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use by Association of Research Libraries

Copyright Clearance Center basics of copyright

Other copyright overviews can be found at the following URLs:

Copyright at Kennesaw University:

Copyright at Columbus State University:

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