Monday, November 11, 2013

On Tuesday, November 5, personnel from the Library, Continuing & Professional Studies, and the Learning & Technology group viewed a webinar on copyright law.  The webinar was given by Joseph Storch, Associate Counsel of the State University of New York, and offered through PaperClip Communications.  Storch summarized the “Fair Use” conditions under which copyrighted materials can be used without violating copyright law.  When determining whether material could be used fairly, one should consider:

1.  The purpose of the use – it should be for education (commercial or nonprofit),

2.  The nature of the copyrighted work – the more creative the work is, the greater degree of protection it enjoys,

3.  The amount and substantiality of the work – the more of the work that is used, the greater the degree of protection,

4.  The effect upon the potential market for the work – the more of a potential negative effect on the market, the greater the degree of protection.

Storch also summarized the “Teach Act,” meant to address copyright issues associated with distance/online education.  Storch’s summary indicated that online/distance education courses could apply Fair Use principles similarly to face-to-face classrooms if:
1.  The copyrighted material is experienced only as a part of that class – students cannot retain the copyrighted material past the duration of the class, and they do not have the ability to redistribute the material in other venues.

2.  The use of copyrighted material must be directly related to teaching the class.

3.  Security measures put in place by the material’s owner cannot be interfered with or thwarted.

Based on a copyright case involving Georgia State (Cambridge University Press et al. v. Patton et al), Storch proposed that faculty might consider the use of 10% or one chapter of a copyrighted book (if a digital version is available) to be Fair Use of that resource for education, or up to roughly 18% of a book if a digital version is not available.  However – and of course – other experts hesitate to broadly apply guidelines that were used within a specific legal context.

Further Resources:
Our own Rose-Hulman copyright resource:

An academics-focused overview, with links to sections on Fair Use, the Teach Act, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act:

The full deal!

EDUCAUSE resources related to the Georgia State copyright case:

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