April 15, 2014

Orphan Works - When No One Knows Who Owns the Copyright

"Orphan work” is a term used to describe the situation in which the owner of a copyrighted work cannot

be identified and located. These works may be unpublished, or the publisher may be out of business.  They are not confined to print works or literary works.  Many early films have no information regarding who made them. Anyone who wishes to use these works, which are not in the public domain, is hard pressed to know if they may assume that the copyright owner will come forth and claim infringement, or whether the works are truly orphaned and it will be appropriate to use them because the copyright is basically abandoned.


Archives in particular may end up having fairly substantive amounts of orphan works in collections due to the nature of items that are contained in them. The urgency of this problem helped the Society of American Archivists (SSA) to create a document of their best practices regarding orphan works and they have made it freely available.

Basic principles that the SSA uses in their document include:

·         Multiple legal rationales may apply to a specific project or use;

·         Holdings in archival collections should be used, not left unused because of obscure

ownership status;

·         Common sense should apply.

 nstitutions and individuals should document any process they employed to determine that rights holders cannot be located.  Such processes can be standardized, so that a workflow for determining orphan works may be established and  made as efficient as possible.


Efforts to provide legislation around orphan works have so far failed to attract significant attention in the US Congress, however this year the Copyright Office is making efforts to provide some leadership in this area. Hearings regarding orphan works were held in March of 2014 and the Library of Congress website is requesting public comment.  You may wish to pay attention to the site on orphan works over the coming few weeks to obtain relevant information from the round table discussion transcripts and video:    


The Copyright Office is reviewing the problem of orphan works under U.S. copyright law in continuation of its previous work on the subject and to advise Congress on possible next steps for the United States. The Office has long shared the concern with many in the copyright community that the uncertainty surrounding the ownership status of orphan works does not serve the objectives of the copyright system. For good faith users, orphan works are a frustration, a liability risk, and a major cause of gridlock in the digital marketplace. The issue is not contained to the United States. Indeed, a number of foreign governments have recently adopted or proposed solutions.

During its review, the Office has requested comments and held public roundtables in Washington DC on March 10-11, 2014, which were videotaped and transcribed. During these roundtables, the Office heard a variety of viewpoints on a wide range of issues impacting orphan works and mass digitization efforts. The Office will post the transcripts and video on the Office website as they become available. 

Comments are now due by 5:00 p.m. EDT on May 21, 2014. For more information, please see 77 FR 18932


There is also considerably more information at this site from the Federal Register original Notice of Inquiry by the Library of Congress.

If you have questions about copyright, please contact Lorre Smith of the University Libraries at, or drop by the reference desk!

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

March 12, 2014

Open Access - Where’s All the Good Stuff?

oa.jpg“Open access” is the term used for scholarly resources on the internet that are available for free. Traditionally journals, monographs and other resources have been sold by commercial publishers after the content has been given to publishers for free by scholars. Now that the internet has made distribution easier for scholarly enterprises, the business model built by commercial publishers is coming into question. Scholars are finding more free venues so that their work can be found and used by a greater community, not just elite institutions that have adequate funds. The scholars are not applying rigid copyright restrictions as the commercial publishers have done in the past, and commercial publishers are also trying to provide information for free as a result.

At this time there are several websites that specialize in open access materials, and it may be worthwhile to bookmark the links below.

“OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories. Each OpenDOAR repository has been visited by project staff to check the information that is recorded here. This in-depth approach does not rely on automated analysis and gives a quality-controlled list of repositories.
As well as providing a simple repository list, OpenDOAR lets you search for repositories or search repository contents. Additionally, we provide tools and support to both repository administrators and service providers in sharing best practice and improving the quality of the repository infrastructure. Further explanation of these features is given in a project document Beyond the list.
The current directory lists repositories and allows breakdown and selection by a variety of criteria - see the Find page - which can also be viewed as statistical charts. The underlying database has been designed from the ground up to include in-depth information on each repository that can be used for search, analysis, or underpinning services like text-mining. The OpenDOAR service is being developed incrementally, developing the current service as new features are introduced. A list of Upgrades and Additions is available.
Developments will be of use both to users wishing to find original research papers and for service providers like search engines or alert services which need easy-to-use tools for developing tailored search services to suit specific user communities.”

Directory of Open Access Journals
“The aim of the DOAJ is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals, thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. The DOAJ aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content. In short, the DOAJ aims to be the one-stop shop for users of open access journals.”

Open Access Directory
“The Open Access Directory (OAD) is a compendium of simple factual lists about open access (OA) to science and scholarship, maintained by the OA community at large. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD makes it easier for everyone to discover them, use them for reference, and update them. The easier they are to maintain and discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about OA. To see what we have, browse the table of contents below, browse the table of categories, or use the search box in the left sidebar. To help the cause, just register and start editing. If you have any questions, see our help section or drop us a line.”

“OAIster is a union catalog of millions of records representing open access resources that was built by harvesting from open access collections worldwide using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Today, OAIster includes more than 30 million records representing digital resources from more than 1,500 contributors.”

The Public Domain Review
“Founded in 2011, The Public Domain Review is an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and celebrating the public domain in all its richness and variety.

All works eventually fall out of copyright - from classics works of art to absentminded doodles - and in doing so they enter the public domain, a vast commons of material that everyone is free to enjoy, share and build upon without restriction. Our aim is to help our readers explore this rich terrain - like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance to an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond.

With a focus on the surprising, the strange, and the beautiful, we hope to provide an ever-growing cabinet of curiosities for the digital age, a kind of hyperlinked Wunderkammer - an archive of materials which truly celebrates the breadth and variety of our shared cultural commons and the minds that have made it."

Open Culture
“Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. Free audio books, free online courses, free movies, free language lessons, free ebooks and other enriching content — it’s all here. Open Culture was founded in 2006.”

Post created by Lorre Smith

February 5, 2014

Copyrigyht Corner: Copyright Legislation - Works in Progress

Although it doesn’t look like copyright legislation, a recent U.S. federal spending bill mandated that more federal funding agencies must require funded research results to be provided on a free or open access basis. This has caused a flurry of news items and blog posts regarding the impact it will have on wider availability of scholarly communication. Open access means that the information is not behind a royalty paywall that is put in place by most commercial publishers who own the copyright, or right of distribution, for scholarly publications.

From a Janurary 17, 2014 “Inside Higher Ed” blog post:

“According to the bill, federal agencies must develop public access policies that provide a "machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journal." The policy applies to all federal agencies with research and development expenditures exceeding $100 million a year.

Library Journal looks at the law a bit differently and provides a bit more detail:

“Included is language that mandates that research funded by agencies operating under the portion of the bill covering Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education must be made available to the public for free online.
That change is good news for advocates of open access, said Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), as it expands the number of agencies operating under the kind of open access policies that have been in place at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2008.”

In the mean time, the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee continues to hold hearings regarding the possible overhaul of U.S. Code Title 17, otherwise known as copyright law. The most recent hearing on January 28, 2014 contained significant testimony regarding Chapter 1, section 107, the Fair Use section of Title 17. This section has historically been controversial due to the control if provides the copyright holders over their content. Large media corporations rely on copyright for their profits. Traditionally education stakeholders have argued for more strength in the Fair Use section, while commericial content providers have argued to weaken it or eliminate the section altogether.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks blog is concerned about who is testifying to the Committee:

“Copyright reform hearings continue to lumber along in the House of Representatives, with Tuesday's in the Judiciary Committee marking the seventh in as many months. This hearing was dedicated to "The Scope of Fair Use," and though the panel of witnesses was more diverse than in some of the earlier hearings, there were still some disappointing trends in the conversation.”

Some argue that Congress tends to favor large corporate content providers over other stakeholders, such as non-profits, educational interests and professionals in the arts.

The Committee continues to make videos of the hearings available, including the Jan. 28 hearing.

Copyright law ideally provides a balance between those who produce content and make their livelihoods from the ability to charge others for its use, and those who only thrive when there is free flow of content without restrictive costs. Now is a wonderful opportunity to follow along as legislators debate copyright law issues. This point in time also provides ample opportunity for those who work in fields that use and produce content to educate their representatives regarding what is necessary to keep copyright law balanced and workable.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

November 20, 2013

Copyright Corner: The Fair Use Evaluator from the Copyright Advisory Network



Over at the Copyright Advisory Network is a great tool called the Fair Use Evaluator and it will be a very good tool to bookmark for when you have questions regarding your use of an item protected by copyright.

The American Library Association Washington Office has taken on the responsibility of keeping librarians and others informed regarding federal policy that influences all of us who deal with information on a daily basis.  The Office for Information Technology Policy has specialized in copyright law and they not only have developed the Copyright Advisory Network, but they have also developed a set of very helpful resources for those who need to know about copyright.

The Fair Use Evaluator  is a tool that allows us to enter information about how we are using a work protected by copyright and it tells us on a visual scale how “fair” our use is and how close it is to infringement.  In the course of entering all our information, we also create documentation of our decision process so that we can save it in our files.  That way if our process is ever questioned we have the document to show how we made good faith effort to determine that our use could be made without asking permission of the copyright holder, and that it is a fair use.  Fair use is determined by section 107 of the copyright law,which describes the fair use exception to copyright. While there is no such thing as an absolute safe haven against getting sued for infringement, it is always appropriate to systematically evaluate your use of any item protected by copyright and properly document your effort when you firmly believe that your use is a fair use.

The Fair Use Evaluator landing page also has several very good links for learning more about copyright and fair use.  It’s a good place to get a distilled version of information so that you have a good ground in the essentials.

One especially great thing about this tool is that you can copy it and use it in your institution’s web site!  If you contact the Washington Office of ALA, they will give you all the files and details to make it function.  Check the link called:  Creative Commons/Modify this Tool for Use at your own Institution and all the details are there. Take some time to try out the Fair Use Evaluator tool for yourself!

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

October 23, 2013

Overhauling Copyright Law- A Work in Progress

library copyright alliance.pngMaria Pallante, our Register of Copyrights gave a lecture March 4th this year stating her case that the copyright law is in need of major revision. Her lecture, “The Next Great Copyright Act” found its way to the attention of legislators in the House of Representatives.

Since the spring of this year, there have been discussions in Congress regarding overhauling the copyright law. In a press release from the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary dated April 24, 2013, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R.VA) announced:

Chairman Goodlatte: “As we mark World Intellectual Property Day today in the Jefferson Building, I would point out that the U.S. Copyright Office first opened in this building in 1897 under the direction of our nation’s first Register of Copyrights, Thorvald Solberg, who served as Register for the next 33 years. During his tenure as Register, Solberg oversaw the implementation of the Third Revision of America’s copyright law in 1909 that modernized the copyright law for that era in ways that seem quaint today. … So it is my belief that a wide review of our nation’s copyright laws and related enforcement mechanisms is timely. I am announcing today that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a comprehensive series of hearings on U.S. copyright law in the months ahead. The goal of these hearings will be to determine whether the laws are still working in the digital age. I welcome all interested parties to submit their views and concerns to the Committee..”

It has been 35 years since a major revision of the copyright law, Title 17 of the U.S. Code. There are many interested stakeholders.

A hearing in May ( A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project) reviewed a consensus building project regarding copyright with five members of the project testifying for the Committee.

The American Librarian Association “District Dispatch” blog, written by the ALA Washington Office staff, blogged about ongoing hearings in August:

“The first of these hearings, titled “Innovation in America: The Role of Copyrights”, was held on July 24. Unsurprisingly, the hearing focused on the testimony of groups representing rights holders like the Copyright Alliance and the American Society of Media Photographers among others. Much attention was given to the effectiveness of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the alleged need for more piracy protection.”

A second hearing “Innovation in America: The Role of Technology” took place on August 1, before the recess of Congress and then the build up to the government shutdown

This is an opportunity to follow along a legislative process that promises to have many interested parties and will have a major impact on how copyright influences education. If you are interested in following the hearings you can use the House Judiciary Committee website as well as the District Dispatch blog.

blog post created by Lorre Smith

September 18, 2013

Copyright Corner: UAlbany Open Access Week Celebration

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its sixth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

“Open Access” to information - the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need - has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.

Open Access (OA) has the potential to maximize research investments, increase the exposure and use of published research, facilitate the ability to conduct research across available literature, and enhance the overall advancement of scholarship. Research funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and scientists, teachers, students, and members of the general public are supporting a move towards Open Access in increasing numbers every year. Open Access Week is a key opportunity for all members of the community to take action to keep this momentum moving forward.

OA Week is an invaluable chance to connect the global momentum toward open sharing with the advancement of policy changes on the local level. Universities, colleges, research institutes, funding agencies, libraries, and think tanks have used Open Access Week as a platform to host faculty votes on campus open-access policies, to issue reports on the societal and economic benefits of Open Access, to commit new funds in support of open-access publication, and more.

University Libraries Open Access Program, October 23, 2013

10:00am - 12:30pm, Standish Room, Science Library

Student Presentations on Open Access issues. Talk and Q&A by Prof. Adam Gordon, Department of Anthropology, University at Albany. Refreshments provided.

Other Open Access Week Programs that will be live-streamed:

Open [access, data, source]: science & data in the 21st century

Jo Young, Graham Steel
Friday, 25 October 2013 from 15:00 to 18:00 (BST)
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Open Access Week 2013 Kick Off Event at the World Bank: Redefining Impact

More live streamed events may be added! You may want to check the Open Access Week Live Stream Events page for more information about updates.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

April 17, 2013

Publisher Copyright Policies & Self-archiving: SHERPA/RoMEO

Authors who have heard about open access are able to find journal publisher copyright policies using the SHERPA/RoMEO database

 any international partners contribute to the RoMEO database, which allows users to enter the name of a journal or publisher and retrieve the policies regarding what rights remain with the authors and what rights are expected to be signed over to the publisher. This gives authors the opportunity to compare journal and publisher policies in one place and make informed decisions regarding their article manuscript submissions. The sight includes a list of all journals and a list of all publishers included in the database.

 RoMEO colors” categorize the policies, and searching can include publishers of specific categories.  Below is a simple chart explaining the colors.


RoMEO Colour

Archiving policy


Can archive pre-print and post-print or publisher's version/PDF


Can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing) or publisher's version/PDF


Can archive pre-print (ie pre-refereeing)


Archiving not formally supported


The site also allows authors to look at policies of research funders to see if they require open access to research results and resulting publications.

 This is a rich site of information regarding copyright in the world of scholarly communication and a very valuable tool to help authors determine where to submit manuscripts.


 Blog post created by Lorre Smith


March 20, 2013

Copyright for Scholarly Authors: Which Rights Should Authors Keep When Publishing?

When is the crucial decision about what rights to keep when submission of work to a commercial publisher who is not open access? The right time to think about which rights should be kept among the bundle of copyrights is when the author receives the copyright agreement sent by the publisher after the article or other work is accepted for publication. A careful assessment of the agreement is of primary importance.  An understanding of which rights the publisher wants is the underlying information that is necessary.  After understanding which rights the publisher expects the author to grant, the author must assess which rights should be retained.  This means clear thinking about how the author expects to use the work in the future, and which rights will assure that the author can use the work in the ways that are

The rights of copyright are spelled out in Chapter 1, Section 106 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

The author must decide if the publisher should be granted more rights than the right to publish (make and distribute copies for profit) the particular version of the work that has been submitted.

The web sites below have been developed by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) to help scholarly authors make decisions regarding their rights and the rights they wish to grant to publishers.

Seizing the Moment:Scientists' Authorship Rights in the Digital Agereport, prepared by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, calling for authors to use their leverage to negotiate licensing agreements that maximize access to and dissemination of their work.

Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving- A convenient summary listing of permissions that are normally given as part of individual publishers' copyright transfer agreements. From the ROMEO and SHERPA projects in the United Kingdom.

Reserving Rights of Use in Works Submitted for Publication: Negotiating Publishing Agreements- Practical guidance on managing your copyright from the Copyright Management Center of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Copyright Management for Scholarship: Key Issues & Good Practices: Agreements - A review of issues commonly confronted when considering the assignment of your rights undercopyright, from the Zwolle Group, an international working group on copyright in academe

Source:Scholarly Pubishing and Academic Resources Coalition's Introduction to Copyright Resources page

blog post created by Lorre Smith

February 20, 2013

Copyright Corner: What are the Rights in Copyright?

As the title of this blog post suggests, there is more than one right for the creators of original works in U.S. copyright law. There are six. Below are brief presentations of each of the six rights.

The first right is to reproduce the copyrighted work. The law states that once something is created and recorded in a fixed tangible medium, the original creator has the exclusive right to make copies.

The second is to prepare derivative works based on the original work. An example of this would be that if I prepare a brief overview of my research in a conference and it is printed in the conference proceedings document, I would have the exclusive right to prepare a full published journal article using the information in my conference presentation.

The third is to distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, by rental, lease or lending. If I own the copyright I’m the only one who can legitimately make copies and distribute them. Examples of such distribution might be through sales or contract/license agreements.

The fourth right is to perform the copyrighted work publicly. An example would be the right to perform a play in a public space, and this performance right would be for any performance, such as audiovisual works or dance.

The fifth is the right to display the work. This right could apply to works of art, choreography, photography or other types of work that could be on display or in an exhibit.

The sixth right is to perform works by digital audio transmission. An example of this would be to stream mp3 files using the web.

The text of the rights in the copyright law are available on the Library of Congress web site, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 106.

These rights are somewhat limited by Section 107 of Title 17, Chapter 1, which is the section called “Limitations on Exclusive Rights: Fair Use”;. Section 107 outlines the circumstances under which the rights to make copies, distribute copies, perform works or exhibit works may be exercised by people in non-profit or educational institutions. The circumstances in the fair use section are limited, but are broad enough to provide the right to make and distribute copies that are used in education on a daily basis. A fair use can be made of copyrighted materials without purchase from the creator or without permission, license or rental, or other contractual agreement.

If you have questions about copyright issues, please contact librarian Lorre Smith, 437-3946 or by email at

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

December 5, 2012

Copyright Corner

Be sure to attend this upcoming University Libraries program regarding open access publication:

"Publishing in Open Access Publications: Rights and Issues" Tuesday, January 15, 2013
10:00am - 11:15am Standish Room, 3rd Floor, Science Library

"Publishing in Open Access Publications: Rights and Issues" will provide a discussion of implications for author copyright and how to find open access publication venues, and a brief introduction to founding open access publications.

Each time we publish our work through a commercial or society publisher the question of who will own the copyright is an issue. Often publishers send us a standard agreement form that is to be signed and returned. This agreement is a critical moment in the publication process, often overlooked or very briefly considered by many. Open access publications are free or very low cost, and authors retain the rights of distribution.

What are our rights as authors? What are the publisher's rights? What alternative open access publication opportunities exist? All these questions should be resolved satisfactorily so that we are confident of our rights when we distribute or license our work, create derivatives of our work and post our work on our web pages or the web pages of our department, institute or professional organization.

Tuesday, January 15, 10:00am - 11:15am
Standish Room, 3rd Floor, Science Library

Lorre Smith: to reserve a seat in the session.

Presented by Lorre Smith, copyright education and scholarly communications specialist of the University Libraries since 1998.

See this guide for more information about Open Access: "Scholarly Communication and Open Access" Library Guide

For further details and sign up, email or call: 437-3946

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

November 7, 2012

Copyright Corner - Creative Commons Licenses

At Creative Commons they describe themselves this way:

“Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.

Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice.

CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”

Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.”

Creative Commons was created specifically for authors and other creators so that their work would carry the message that it is available to be freely copied and distributed without permission. Typically a work that is protected by copyright will have a message indicating that it is protected, and who owns the copyright. Permission must be granted by the copyright holder in order for the work to be used by anyone else. A work that has a Creative Commons license may indicate very different terms regarding re-use and distribution of the work. The license may be used to indicate that the author/creator will allow copying and distribution, but that each copy must indicate who originally created the work. It may also stipulate that the work may be used/copied only if the work within which it will be placed will also be available for copying and distribution without permission. Each license is explained in the list below.

The Licenses

attribution CC BY.png

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

CC BY_SA.png


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

CC BY_ND.png


This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

CC BY_NC.png

Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.



This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.



This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

If you have questions related to Creative Commons licenses, or copyright topics, contact Lorre Smith (

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

September 5, 2012

Copyright Corner:The WATCH File: Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders

When we as scholarly authors are planning to use the work of others within our compositions we must be assured that the use we are making is permitted by the original author or copyright holder, so a website like The WATCH File can be a highly important resource. The Henry Ransom Center at the University of Texas Austin along with the University of Reading, England have created one of the largest databases of copyright holders in the world: WATCH (Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders).

If we have determined that the use we are making of the original work does not fall within the scope of fair use, then we must go about the process of getting permission for use of the work. The author does not always hold the copyright or the author may have designated an agent to handle copyright permissions, and also we may be using the work of an author who is deceased, but the copyright for their work has not expired. The WATCH File is a wonderful tool with a search box into which one types the author’s name and receives back from the database any information concerning who might own the copyrights. For instance, if the author in question is Stephen Jay Gould, the search results include the contact information for the current rights holder:

Copyright Permissions
Pimlico Agency, Inc.
Box 20447
Cherokee Station
New York
Phone: 1 - 212 - 628 9729 [Office]

Prolific authors may have had business relationships with many publishers, and so there may be a different copyright holder for each specific work. There may be several agents that manage different works, especially if the author published in several magazines or journals. Sometimes the author may have given the copyright to an academic journal or publisher, in which case it would be the journal or publisher who would have copyright.

Sometimes the copyright holder may be out of business, and The WATCH File has a companion site, “Firms Out of Business” or FOB. If the firm who may have originally held copyright is out of business, there may be another organization or agent who now owns the copyright, or the work may be a copyright “orphan work”, with no discernible active copyright holder. All of these situations present significant problems for authors who wish to use the work of others, and there is no clear legal framework regarding how to proceed. Stakeholders are working within the legislative process to try to work out an equitable process.

Performing due diligence in tracking down the copyright holder is important if use of the work is critical for our own work as authors. Documenting any searching for the copyright holder is essential and using tools such as The WATCH File can be very helpful.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

April 18, 2012

Open Access, or Copyright as a Barrier to Access for Scholarly Work

Once the Internet became established as a communications network for virtually all academic institutions during the last decades of the 20th century, it became clear that scholarly information could be sent almost instantaneously across the network by those who produced it to those who needed to read it. After consideration of the growing phenomenon over the 1980s and 1990s, Earlham College professor Peter Suber created this definition of “open access”:
“Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.

Commercial publishers for the most part accept scholarly material for publication either for free from the author or they may charge the author fees for publishing, such as in the case of so called page charges. Page charges may range from $100 for each page of the article to $2000 for color illustrations or other special page features. Commercial publishers usually require the author to give them the copyright for the material, then they charge royalty fees, subscription fees or other access charges for those who wish to read or otherwise use the material in order to make their profit. The restrictions and prices imposed by commercial publishers of scholarly materials can be a difficult barrier to access for those who need to read or use the materials. Commercial publishers may also provide free access to users of the material, not require the author to assign copyright to them, and instead charge the author substantive fees to have the material published. This open access offering by publishers is called the “author pays” model. The fees may be equivalent to the amount the publisher may expect to otherwise make from subscriptions or pay-per-use models and may be as high as $2500 for a journal article.

Many see the barriers created by copyright as destructive developments for the scholarly community, noting that if an individual scholar is not able to read all the scholarship in their field due to price restrictions or interlibrary lending restrictions, their scholarship suffers as a consequence. If one can only have access to 80% of what exists in that scholarly field, what is the quality of one’s scholarship? These are troubling issues in the current scholarly communication system.

Because the internet provides many alternatives to commercial publishing for scholars, it is possible to distribute scholarly materials at no cost to the user other than the costs involved in getting access to an internet connection. There are now thousands of free scholarly journals. This free access for users is the open access alternative, and more scholars are taking advantage of it because of the barrier-free access it provides to their work and the subsequent higher impact. When the material is available without copyright restrictions, fees and subscription charges for access, data is beginning to show that the material is used more frequently than copyright-restricted material. By using open access distribution methods, scholars implicitly give permission for use of material free of charge and copies can be made and distributed by whoever wishes to do so without individual permission by the author. Some open access publications are restricted somewhat by Creative Commons licenses that may require use to also include attribution for the original author, or may require that each use also be open access.

The open access alternative is so attractive for so many different reasons that many funding agencies now require scholarly authors to publish the results of their projects in open access venues and the faculties of many institutions are declaring through resolutions that they will publish only in open access venues.

For more information and discussion regarding open access, see the Simmons College Open Access wiki.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

March 21, 2012

Digital Rights Management: DRM

The digital management of rights by digitally encoding management technologies and including them in files so that the “reading� technologies will either allow or restrict use is now commonly called “DRM�. DRM can be used within the content files, and also can be configured into transaction processes as well as included in system architecture. Some early implementations of this same idea used the words Digital Restrictions Management. A typical method of DRM might be to encrypt a file so that only authorized or paying users have the decryption technology. Another method may be to incorporate restricting metadata in a file that prevents distribution or copying. The incorporation of the restrictions into the content means that after the purchase, the buyer does not have control over the distribution of the content, as is the case with physical media such as books.

Content creators and distributors who wish to restrict the use of digital content and provide use only to those who pay fees and royalties are creating many different types of schemes to ensure as little unauthorized use as possible. For instance eBook publishers and vendors are creating licensing and DRM schemes that control how many times a library may allow the downloading of any individual book. The scheme usually includes an initial price payment for access to the book, then the DRM keeps track of downloading and use transactions. After a certain number of downloads, for instance 30, the publisher or vendor will bill the library for any additional downloads, or sell another license for additional downloads of that title.

Another scheme includes how many library users may have access to specific title at one time. The DRM can allow only one user or multiple simultaneous users of a title. The library must decide whether to pay a lower price and only allow one user at a time or pay a higher price for the title and allow multiple users of the title.
These examples only highlight a few DRM schemes. There are literally thousands used by content publishers/creators/vendors to manage their digital content “downstream� use. DRM virtually eliminates the “first sale� doctrine aspect of the copyright law, which provides a good deal of flexibility for subsequent use of the content buyer. The first sale doctrine allows anyone to buy a copy of an item from a vendor and have the ability to subsequently distribute that copy as they see fit, with little restriction. It is considered that they have paid the necessary royalty. DRM schemes create models which shift the paradigm to access rather than outright ownership – access remains under the control of the copyright holder.

The DRM schemes widely used today provide control by the seller or licenser of content but restrict the buyer or user of content. Many times these schemes also prevent fair use, the type of use described in the copyright law which provides for limited use of copyright protected content for non-profit and educational uses and does not require permission or royalty payment.

For further reading about DRM:

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

February 8, 2012

Copyright Corner: Determining Copyright Duration

The duration of copyright, although quite a long time, is not perpetual. In the United States copyright extends for the lifetime of the author plus seventy years. This makes the determination of whether a work is still protected by copyright possibly a very complicated process. Once copyright has expired, the work reverts to the public domain, where it may be copied and distributed freely without regard for the original creator.

There are a few tools to help determine copyright duration that are very easy to find on the web:

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States
This chart, developed by Peter Hirtle at Cornell University, provides a way to assess an individual item using its publication status, date of publication and format. The chart helps determine what aspect of the copyright law applies and if the work is still protected by copyright.

How To Investigate Copyright Status
This pamphlet, developed by the Library of Congress Copyright Office, provides advice on searching for the status of an individual item. The Copyright Office will also search for individual items for a fee.

Search Copyright Records
This page provides a search of copyright registration records from 1978 to the current time. It also provides information to help search copyright registration records prior to 1978.

The Watch File and FOB
The Watch File database is operated jointly by the Harry Ransom Center and Reading University. It helps locate the copyright holders and managers for many literary and creative works, and may help in locating information about whether a work is still protected by copyright. The connected FOB site helps provide information regarding firms out of business, which may be among the “vanished� copyright holders.

If you have any questions about copyright issues, please contact Lorre Smith: ; 437-3946. Although based at the Science Library, Lorre is here at Dewey several days each week.

December 13, 2011

Copyright Corner: The Public Domain and Creative Commons Licenses

The Public Domain
Items that are not protected by copyright are said to be in the public domain. Items in the public domain may be freely copied and distributed with no permission from the author or creator. Copyright protection in the United States is of limited duration, and when copyright expires the work is in the public domain. Some publications, such as many U.S. government publications, are never protected by copyright and are always in the public domain so that the information that is created with tax dollars does not require license fees or royalties for use and distribution.

Commercial publishers, who are often the copyright holders for journal articles wish to charge royalties and license fees whenever possible so that they can profit from their publications.
Within the world of scholarly publishing we have special interests and needs when it comes to the distribution of our work and the work of our colleagues. While we try to take advantage of the services offered by commercial publishing businesses, we also wish our work to be widely read and used for the advancement of knowledge and art, with as few barriers as possible. We don’t necessarily wish our work to be in the public domain because we may wish our work to always be attributed to us.

Creative Commons Licenses
Creative Commons was created specifically for authors and other creators by lawyers so that their work would carry the message that it is available to be freely copied and distributed without permission. Typically a work that is protected by copyright and permission must be given for it to be copied and re-used will have a message indicating that it is protected, and who owns the copyright. A work that has a Creative Commons license may indicate very different terms regarding re-use and distribution of the work. The license may be used to indicate that the author/creator will allow copying and distribution, but that each copy must indicate who originally created the work. It may also stipulate that the work may be used/copied only if the work within which it will be placed will also be available for copying and distribution without permission. explains all of the various licenses that may be used to help clarify what terms the author/creator wishes to explicitly make clear for subsequent readers/users of their work. This is a very different way to look at copyright and may be a useful alternative, especially for those who do not need to make a profit from their work and want a very wide distribution of their work and ideas.

If you would like more information or advice on copyright issues, please contact Lorre Smith in the University Libraries:, 442-3946.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

October 12, 2011

Open Access Week 2011 Events

The University at Albany University Libraries and Eastern New York Chapter Association of College and Research Libraries are celebrating Open Access Week 2011 with exhibits and a program of activities on the afternoon of Wednesday October 26.

Wednesday October 26
12:00 – 1:30pm Brown bag lunch and discussion of open access Science Library, Standish Room, 3rd Floor - Bring a lunch and the libraries will provide drinks. Discussion moderator will be Irina Holden, Information Literacy and Science Outreach Librarian. R.S.V.P Lorre Smith by October 21, 2011

2:00 – 3:30pm “Open Science, Free software, and Citizen Astronomers� Dr. David Hogg Science Library, Standish Room, 3rd Floor - Being open in scientific research--sharing code and ideas before publication, for example--can yield huge direct benefits for scientific investigators. This is most true when ideas are cheap but execution is expensive; these conditions are met in most (but not all) scientific fields. One of the big side effects of extreme openness is that it makes it easy for outsiders (non-traditionally trained or self-trained) scientists to contribute meaningfully to research. Dr. Hogg will give examples from work by his group. A reception will follow the talk in the Standish Room.

4:00 - 4:45: Tour of College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering - The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany - State University of New York (SUNY) is a global education, research, development and technology deployment resource dedicated to preparing the next generation of scientists and researchers in nanotechnology. R.S.V.P. to Lorre Smith to reserve a spot on the tour by October 21, 2011.

For more information please check out the Libraries' news item on the event.

Thanks to University Auxilliary Services for its generous support of these programs.

September 14, 2011

Copyright Corner

Copyright Corner
September, 2011

Lorre Smith

Using a Copyright Checklist

While there are many explanations of Fair Use on the web and in articles or books, we may find those explanations less than helpful as we are considering whether to use a particular item for our course or on our website. Many times a copyright checklist can help us make a decision.

Copyright checklists guide us in examining our intended use and the nature of the materials we wish to use. You may wish to bookmark one of the checklists below to use each time you need to make a decision for your class, your website or your publication. The Fair Use Checklist produced for The Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office has a section of the checklist for each of the four fair use factors, and it allows the user to check off the aspects that pertain to their specific use. Although it may not pinpoint the final decision, it is a great tool for analysis of the use, and completing the checklist itself is a way to document that a decision was reached after careful consideration and weighing of the four factors. You may wish to complete a printed version of the checklist for each copyright protected item you use in your work in order to document why you decided that it was a fair use and that permission was not needed to make or distribute copies of it.

Here is an example from the section of the Columbia University checklist regarding the first factor of fair use:


Preserving Fair Use Opposing Fair Use
Teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use) Commercial activity
ResearchProfiting from the use
Scholarship Entertainment
Nonprofit educational institutionBad-faith behavior
Criticism Denying credit to original author
News reporting  
Transformative or productive uses (changes the work for new utility)  
Restricted access (to students or another group)  

By going down both columns and checking each item that pertains to the use under consideration, it becomes clear when the preponderance of checks ends up in either the Favoring Fair Use column or the Opposing Fair Use column.

Here is a list of checklists on the web that may be helpful for making decisions regarding fair use.

Columbia University's Checklist

Cornell University's Checklist

University System of Georgia's Checklist

American Library Association Fair Use Evaluator – an interactive tool

Copyright Term and Public Domain: Checklist from Cornell to help determine whether a work produced in the U.S. is protected by copyright

Checklist regarding using materials for distance education [TEACH Act checklist]

If you wish to have a presentation regarding copyright in your class, or for an organization meeting, contact Lorre Smith, University at Albany’s copyright education librarian, to make arrangements: or 518 437-3946

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

April 13, 2011

Copyright Registration

Since the Copyright Act of 1977, no one is required to register their work with the Copyright Office in order to enjoy copyright protection. However, one may still register one’s work to obtain certain benefits. Registration is especially beneficial to those who expect to exploit their works for financial gain.

The Copyright Office provides good basic information about copyright and registration in their Frequently Asked Questions page: Copyright Frequently Asked Questions –

This FAQ also includes information regarding copyright registration.

The Copyright Office also provides very good basic information regarding copyright and copyright registration in their Circular no. 1, “Copyright Basics�. Here is some of the information from that Circular regarding registering copyright.

“In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Among these advantages are the following:
• Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
• Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
• If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
• If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
• Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies. “

The Copyright Office has provided a method for electronically submitting copyright registration applications through their Electronic Copyright Office – eCO. The registration application form is available online for viewing any time:
Application for copyright registration (form CO)

More about registration from “Copyright Basics�: “Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright. Unlike the law before 1978, when a work has been registered in unpublished form, it is not necessary to make another registration when the work becomes published, although the copyright owner may register the published edition, if desired.� Preregistration is also available for unpublished works. On the Copyright Office page regarding preregistration they list possible benefits:
“You may benefit by preregistering your work if:
• you think it’s likely someone may infringe your work before it is released; and,
• you have started your work but have not finished it.
You can preregister your work only if:
• your work is unpublished; and,
• creation of your work has begun; and,
• your work is being prepared for commercial distribution; and,
• your work is one of the following: motion picture, musical work, sound recording, computer program, book, or advertising photograph.�

For more detailed information regarding copyright registration see The Copyright Office web pages:

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

March 16, 2011

Scholarly Authors and Copyright

Until we assign the copyright or license the copyright to someone else in a formal contract, we as authors own the copyright to our work. Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 6 of the copyright law describes the rights we have:

§ 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works

Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

We do not have to formally register our work to protect it under the copyright law. If we are submitting an article to a publisher, they may ask us for the exclusive copyright of our work within an agreement form that we must sign before publication. When we sign such an agreement it is a legally binding agreement regarding the rights listed above.

Any journal publisher only needs a few of the rights above in order to publish and distribute our work in a journal issue, so a good question to ask is: exactly which rights should the publisher have and which rights should scholarly authors retain over their work? It might be a very good idea to retain rights over all derivative works. It may be a good idea to retain rights to put the work on a personal website or in an open access repository. It may be a good idea to retain the right to distribute the work for all teaching purposes.

Retaining certain rights may mean that an author will alter the copyright agreement and negotiate with the publisher before signing. Check out the Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office for web pages that deal with publisher agreements and negotiating for rights.

This may be helpful as you consider how you want to approach managing your copyright ownership as a scholarly author.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

December 20, 2010

Copyright Corner: Useful Blogs

IIn last month’s Copyright Corner there were several links to resources about copyright. For this post here is a list of copyright blogs for your continuing copyright education.

University of Maryland University College

Copyright Advisory Office Blog
Columbia University


Creative Commons

Public Knowledge
Start on this issues page and find a list of blog entries about copyright.

Intellectual Property Colloquium
UCLA School of Law

Library Law Blog
Click on the tag cloud term “copyright “ to see entries

District Dispatch
American Library Association Washington Office
Scroll down and find the “Copyright� category on the right side to see the archives of copyright posts.

These blogs will present the latest news in legislation, discuss aspects of copyright that affect various sectors and point readers to other interesting developments in copyright. Bookmark them in order to keep up with emerging copyright information.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

November 3, 2010

Four Guides to Copyright for Higher Education Faculty and Students

If you would like to bookmark just a few websites about copyright these are probably the best in the United States for the higher education community:

Center for Intellectual Property at the University of Maryland University College
The Center for Intellectual Property provides education, research, and resources for the higher education community on copyright, academic integrity, and the emerging digital environment. The Center accomplishes its mission through the delivery of workshops and conferences, online training, consultations on campus, and electronic and print publications, and it provides continuous updates on legislative developments at the local, state, national, and international level.

Copyright Advisory Office: Columbia University
The Copyright Advisory Office of Columbia University has a central mission to address, in a creative and constructive manner, the relationship between copyright law and the work of the university in order to best promote research, teaching, library services, and community involvement. To that end, this office:
•Addresses issues of fair use, copyright ownership, and publishing arrangements in furtherance of higher education and the advancement of knowledge;
•Provides copyright information and education resources for the university community;
•Supports innovative policies, practices, and contracts to foster the creation, preservation, and accessibility of information resources; and
•Undertakes research and exploration of copyright issues to provide original understandings of the law and its importance.

Crash Course on Copyright at the University of Texas:
This site includes:Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials .

The course also provides basic information on a broad range of copyright topics.

Digital Scholarship & Publishing Centerfrom North Carolina State University

•The Digital Scholarship and Publishing Center is staffed by a copyright and Internet law specialist.
•It serves as a resource to the NC State community on copyright, fair use, and other scholarly communication issues.
•It provides guidance on issues such as database licensing, user privacy, library reserves, interlibrary loan and document delivery services.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

September 22, 2010

The Public Domain: Works Not Protected by Copyright

Works that are not protected by copyright law are in the public domain. Works in the public domain are available for any use without permission from the original creator. The University of California web site on copyright describes the public domain this way:

“The public domain is generally defined as consisting of works that are either ineligible for copyright protection or with expired copyrights. No permission whatsoever is needed to copy or use public domain works. Public domain works and information represent some of the most critical information that faculty members and students rely upon. Public domain works can serve as the foundation for new creative works and can be quoted extensively. They can also be copied and distributed to classes or digitized and placed on course Web pages without permission or paying royalties. “

One way to discover if copyright has expired for a work is to use the chart provided by Peter Hirtle of Cornell University: “Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States�. Another way is this digital slider, designed by staff of the American Library Association, which provides similar information to help you determine the status of a work and whether it is in the public domain according to U.S. copyright law.

Some authors and creators wish their works to be available in the public domain and they attach licenses to the work indicating that it is available for use. This way there is no doubt for users of the work regarding its status. The Creative Commons web site provides licenses that make clear the terms under which the author/creator will allow the work to be used without permission. These licenses are clearly described on the Creative Commons site: these licenses eliminate the need to request permission in order to use or make copies of the work.

Other works which are created for the public domain and are not protected by copyright include most U.S. Government publications. The U.S. Government produces thousands of publications using tax and other revenues, and so royalties are not charged for copying these works.

U.S. Copyright laws protect most works whether they are published or unpublished, so it is wise to know enough about copyright so that you will not be accused of infringement. To find out more about copyright and the public domain, see our Library Guide: Intellectual Property, Copyright and Fair Use Resources .

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

May 5, 2010

Scholarly Author Rights: Copyright and Open Access

Definition of Open Access Publication:

An Open Access Publication[1] is one that meets the following two conditions:
1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship[2], as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).
1. Open access is a property of individual works, not necessarily journals or publishers.
2. Community standards, rather than copyright law, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now.� Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing Released June 20, 2003

Open Access is a growing international movement that uses the Internet to distribute scholarly publications freely as a public good. It encourages the unrestricted sharing of research results with everyone, everywhere, rather than the use of copyright to restrict access only to those who will pay for it as a commodity owned exclusive by a commercial enterprise.

Open Access is the principle that all research should be freely accessible online, immediately after publication, and it’s gaining ever more momentum around the world as research funders and policy makers throw their weight behind it.

The Open Access philosophy was firmly articulated in 2002, when the Budapest Open Access Initiative was introduced. The BOAI, as it is known, includes these basic ideas:

To achieve open access to scholarly journal literature, we recommend two complementary strategies. I. Self-Archiving: First, scholars need the tools and assistance to deposit their refereed journal articles in open electronic archives, a practice commonly called, self-archiving. When these archives conform to standards created by the Open Archives Initiative, then search engines and other tools can treat the separate archives as one. Users then need not know which archives exist or where they are located in order to find and make use of their contents.

II. Open-access Journals: Second, scholars need the means to launch a new generation of journals committed to open access, and to help existing journals that elect to make the transition to open access. Because journal articles should be disseminated as widely as possible, these new journals will no longer invoke copyright to restrict access to and use of the material they publish. Instead they will use copyright and other tools to ensure permanent open access to all the articles they publish. Because price is a barrier to access, these new journals will not charge subscription or access fees, and will turn to other methods for covering their expenses. There are many alternative sources of funds for this purpose, including the foundations and governments that fund research, the universities and laboratories that employ researchers, endowments set up by discipline or institution, friends of the cause of open access, profits from the sale of add-ons to the basic texts, funds freed up by the demise or cancellation of journals charging traditional subscription or access fees, or even contributions from the researchers themselves. There is no need to favor one of these solutions over the others for all disciplines or nations, and no need to stop looking for other, creative alternatives.

The idea that scholarly publications would be distributed freely rather than be distributed by commercial publishers for a price includes many complicated changes in the culture of scholarly communication. Publishers are very concerned about continued revenues. Scholars are concerned about the value that publishers add to scholarly publication, such as copy editing and management of the peer review process. These concerns must be discussed among various stakeholders in the scholarly communications community to ensure that quality publications are distributed with access to the greatest possible readership.

For further reading concerning open access and shifts in scholarly communication, see this Library Guide: Scholarly Communication and Open Access. For other questions, contact the library's copyright maven, Lorre Smith: (

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

November 18, 2009

The Fair Use Section of the Copyright Law – Title 17 Ch1. § 107

Most of us haven’t looked at the copyright law, Title 17 of the US Code. Chap. 1 Section 107 is worth reading because it helps us understand what copyright protected materials we can use without asking permission within our Fair Use rights. Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 7 of the copyright law

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
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. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
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.

There are many web sites and publications that help us understand the four factors:

When we use the work of others in activities as faculty members and students, we should be aware that we may be infringing on their copyright. Don’t be naïve about copyright! There are many very useful web sites available that can provide much more detail and practical advice about copyright and fair use. The list above and the Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Fair Use Resources page on the University Libraries' website are good places to start.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

October 21, 2009

Rights of Copyright

Most of us haven’t closely examined the rights that copyright protection provides. This is how they are written in Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 6 of the copyright law:

§ 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works
Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

When we create works in fixed , tangible media, these are the rights we enjoy due to this statue. When others create works in fixed, tangible media, they have these same rights. We have these rights unless we sell, give away or license them to others.

When we use the work of others in activities as faculty members and students, we should be aware that we may be infringing on their copyright. Don’t be naïve about copyright! There are many very useful web sites available that can provide much more detail and practical advice about copyright. The Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Fair Use Resources page on the University Libraries' website is a good place to start.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith