It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities under U.S. Copyright laws whether you are using copyrighted materials in a class presentation, on a web page, or within your dissertation. In addition, as producers of scholarly works, you need to be knowledgeable regarding what your rights are as an author.
In this module you will learn:
The U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 authorizes Congress to pass copyright and patent laws. The purposes of these laws are: ". . . [t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." U.S. Copyright laws are meant to promote the creation and distribution of expressions of creative works in the broadest sense.
Authors of creative works have exclusive rights for a limited time to copy, distribute, perform, display, and make derivative works. Specific exemptions are provided in the statute for libraries and educational uses. Beyond these specific exemptions, other uses of copyrighted materials that don't require permission are addressed under the Fair Use section (17 U.S.C. Section 107).
Fair Use and Copyright in Instruction (UA Libraries)
Review this tutorial to learn more about the U.S. Copyright law and what you can do with copyrighted materials under the Fair Use guidelines.
Fair Use Checklist (UA Office of the General Counsel)
This checklist is a useful document to print/save for your future reference as a guide for determining if your intended use is considered a fair use of copyrighted material.
Teach Act Checklist (from University of Texas)
The TEACH Act (2002) specifically addresses use of copyrighted materials in the context of online education.
Laura Gasaway's Public domain chart is a good starting point to determine what is in the public domain.
For greater detail, check out Peter Hirtle's Copyright term and the public domain in the United States.
For a course you are teaching, you want your students to view selections of a Hollywood movie and an entire documentary.
Question: Is this legal? Support your answer with specifics from the Fair Use Guidelines.