Millersville University

Copyright Do's and Don'ts

The Law
The U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 seeks to protect the rights of authors and other owners of copyrightable work while at the same time allowing access to those works through such public institutions as universities and libraries. Generally, it is against the law to make unauthorized copies of copyrighted materials. There are some exceptions to this which are covered under the FairUse provisions(Section 107) of the Copyright Act.

Fair Use
Under very specific circumstances, the copyright law allows for limited copying or distribution of copyrighted works without the author's or publisher's permission for certain purposes. These purposes can include:criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies of classroom use), scholarship, or research. However, the Copyright Act establishes four factors in determining whether or not a particular purpose constitutes fair use. These factors are: The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

No one factor determines a person's right to use a copyrighted work without permission.
All copying by educational institutions is NOT fair use.

Copying Allowable by Fair Use Provisions
  1. Single Copying for Teachers (for scholarly research or teaching) of: a) a chapter from a book; b) an article from a periodical or newspaper; c) a short story, short essay, or short poem; d) a chart, graph, diagram, drawing , cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.
  2. Multiple Copies for Classroom Use (not to exceed more than one copy per student in course) provided that: a) copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaniety(as defined on reverse);b) copying meets the cumulative effect test(as defined on reverse); c) each copy includes a notice of copyright.
Seeking Permission
At Millersville University it is the responsibility of the individual faculty member/department to seek permission to use copyrighted materials. It is important to attempt to do this BEFORE the beginning of a semester. To copy printed or recorded materials, seek permission in writing from the publisher. Most books, journals, and other printed or recorded materials contain a copyright notice.The absence of a copyright notice does not mean that the work in question may be freely copied. If you cannnot locate the address of the publisher, please contact the library's Reference Desk (x 3611)

Internet Resources
At present the copyright law is the same for internet resources as for other materials. All web pages are protected by copyright, even if they do not contain a copyright notice.

Adapted by Marjorie M.Warmkessel, Ph.D
From an October 1997 Document Prepared by David S. Zubatsky, Ph.D.
Millersville University
July 1998


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