Copyright Laws How to Get Permission? By: Ruth Garza EDTC 6340.65
What is Copyright? Copyrights protect an author’s published works such as teacher resources, literary texts, plays, movies, etc…
Public Domain vs. Orphan Works Public domain refers to any public institution’s blog or sharing site used to post comments, discoveries, suggestions, or processes for others to build upon and continue to share. Works are therefore free to be published. An orphan work is when a work on the web has no owner and, therefore remains outside of the digital environment.
Why not use an orphan work? If someone claims ownership, he or she may enforce his or her right through the Copyright Act. Never assume a work is so old that it would be acceptable to use it. Look for its owner to avoid punishment.
What if there is no owner? By ensuring that there is no owner, you reduce the risk of punishment for displaying or digitizing any work. You may then display the work adding a special note advising the public that it is not a guarantee that the work may be used for any purpose. This enables orphan works to be viewed by the public.
What about using material from the internet? Copyright laws govern the use of material you might find on the Internet. Not everything posted on the Internet is public domain. Saving any document is already a copyrighted work. Once it is inputted into a computer media, it is automatically copyright protected.
The Saving Grace:Implied and Express licenses Implied license is when an author posts something on the Internet and expects it to be read, downloaded, printed out, forwarded, or used for another work. Express licenses spell out in detail what rights the author of a work wants readers, viewers, or listeners to have. The author may attach a Creative Commons license to the materials he or she posts on the website to give an express license.
Liability for posting infringing works Individuals can be liable for their own actions when they copy and distribute others’ copyrighted works without permission. You could be fined up to $150,000 for each act of infringement. Institutions such as libraries or university can also be liable for the actions of their employees or students who access the Internet through university machines.
What about the role of “Fair Use”? Fair use policy applies to the online environment. It protects you from lawsuits or any type of punishment when using a work. However, there are many stipulations and therefore you should be informed on what would fall under the umbrella of fair use when using a work.
How to know if you need permission to use a copyrighted work? Ask yourself these questions to see if the work qualifies as fair use:
Is the work protected?
If a work is not original or lacks originality compiled work (like the phone book) in a public domain, available free of restrictions (Freeware- therefore covered by implied license) A US Government works Facts You may use it without asking permission!
Electronically distributing or publishing copies
Publically performing a work (music, poetry, video,…)
Publically displaying an image on a computer screen
Is my use exempt or excused form liability for infringement?
If no exemption is present, you NEED permission!!
The four factor fair use test: This questions will help you to decide if your use of a work is covered under fair use or you need to get permission from the author. What is the character of the use? What is the nature of the work to be used? How much of the work will be used? What effect would this use have on the marker for the original or for permissions if the use were widespread?
What effect would this use have on the marker for the original or for permissions if the use were widespread?
What about the Teach Act? The Teach Act became law in late 2002. It is a copyright law that provides educators with a separate set of rights in addition to fair use, to show or perform others’ works in the classroom. Rights are in Section 110(1) of the Copyright Act and apply to any work, regardless of the medium.
Teach Act Conditions Must be used under instructor’s supervision and only related to teaching content and for the students. Policies and information about copyright must be provided. Must prevent recipients from retaining the works beyond the class session and distribution. New Section 112 (f) with Sections 110 allows copies to be made (with some stipulations)
In Conclusion Let’s ensure we protect ourselves from lawsuits for infringement. Copyright laws are in place to protect the author and user of works. By staying informed we can all continue to learn and be successful without breaking the law!! Let’s set the example for our students.