Webinars: Copyright for Teaching & Learning

Spring 2018 Webinar Series

Copyright & Course Design - Thurs 2/15
Learn copyright basics and the essential questions to consider when designing your course - online, face-to-face, or hybrid.
Presentation slides [PDF]
Webinar Recording

Fair Use - Thurs 3/1
The doctrine of fair use provides educators, among others, with the right to use a certain portion of copyrighted acts under certain conditions. Many mistakenly think of fair use as an educational exemption that would allow unlimited use of any amount of a copyrighted work, so long as it is used in an educational setting. That is simply not the case.
Learn how to determine the "fairness" of a use under the U.S. Copyright Code.
Presentation Slides [PDF]
Webinar Recording

Creative Commons and the Public Domain - Thurs 3/15
Works that are in the public domain are not protected by copyright. Works available under a Creative Commons license are protected by copyright but can be used freely provided you follow license conditions.
Learn how to find, use, and attribute public domain and CC licensed work in your classroom.
Presentation Slides [PDF]
Webinar Recording
Creative Commons & Public Domain Resources [PDF]

Copyright Basics for Online Teaching - Thurs 4/5
What do you need to know about Copyright to teach online? In this webinar, we will cover:

  • Assessing copyright status
  • Getting permissions
  • Seeking licenses
  • Using educational exceptions
  • Claiming fair use

Presentation Slides [PDF]
Webinar Recording

Copyright for Online Course Developers

View the 2014 Copyright for Online Course Developers presentation.
To view the Speaker's Notes, clip the "Options" gear in the new window.


Creative Commons & Public Domain

Shared works - whether copyright free or made available under a free license - allow creators and users to share their knowledge and creativity with the world, in the classroom and beyond.
All Rights Reserved - Copyright by default
In copyright law, by default all rights are reserved, or held, for the copyright holder.

Some Rights Reserved - Creative Common licenses
Open licenses, such as those provided by Creative Commons, allow copyright holders to grant permissions to users in a simple, straightforward manner, while still retaining specified rights - some rights reserved.

No Rights Reserved - Public domain
When a work is not protected by copyright (either by design or the expiration of a copyright term) it enters the public domain, a realm where no rights are reserved.

"original CC license symbols by Creative Commons" by Shaddim is licensed CC BY 4.0


Creative Commons

512px-CC-logo.svg_.pngCreative Commons licenses are one of several kinds of public copyright licenses that allow for an expanded and flexible use of copyrighted materials. Creative Commons licenses allow creators to expand the use of their works while retaining copyright and allows users to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the works of others.

Through a combination of conditions, Creative Commons licenses grant rights that support free cultural works, works that contribute to remix culture, and works that can be used for commercial purposes. Licenses range from Attribution (CC BY), the most accommodating, to Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND), the most restrictive.

The Licenses

Attribution alone (BY)
Attribution + ShareAlike (BY-SA)
Attribution + Noncommercial (BY-NC)
Attribution + NoDerivatives (BY-ND)
Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA)
Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (BY-NC-ND)


Copyright Tools

Public Domain Slider
An easy to use tool to help determine whether a work has fallen into the public domain.

Exceptions for Instructors eTool
The U.S. Copyright Code provides for the educational use of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder under certain conditions. To find out if your intended use meets the requirements set out in the law, use this free, online tool.

Fair Use Evaluator
Helps you better understand how to determine the "fairness" of a use under the U.S. Copyright Code and can collect, organize & archive the information you might need to support a fair use evaluation.

Copyright Genie
Helps you find out if a work is covered by U.S. copyright, calculate the terms of its protection and collect the results of your search for your records.

Section 108 Spinner
Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Code allows libraries and archives, under certain circumstances, to make reproductions of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder.

Copyright Navigator
A digital annotated concept map of the fundamentals of U.S. Copyright Law


Copyright Outside of the Classroom

Publishing and author's rights

You are a copyright owner. If you have taken a photograph, written an essay or email you have created a work that is protected by copyright - a right that is automatic and does not require any further actions from you.

Copyright grants you exclusive rights over all of your original works (literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works) whether published or unpublished. Before you sign a publication contract, however, you should be aware of which rights, if any, you might be relinquishing. Review your contract to ensure that you can share your work with colleagues and students, post your work online, or publish in the Digital Commons.

For more information, read SPARC Author Rights & Author Addendum

Screening videos on campus

   • view streaming videos from Library databases on personal or College computers
   • view a video/DVD in a private viewing room with up to 3 other people
   • view videos with public performance rights in groups greater than 4 people

   • download anything when you know doing so is illegal
   • circumvent any DRM (Digital Rights Management) technologies
   • publicly show DVDs purchased (or borrowed) for "home use only"
      without securing public performance rights

Public Performance Rights (PPR) are the legal rights to publicly show a film or video (media). Normally the media producer or distributor manages these rights. The rights-holder can assign PPR to others through a Public Performance License.
To inquire about securing PPR, please contact contact the Library's Copyright Liaison

For more information on libraries and video copyright, see

Downloading music and video

   • download music legally

   • download anything when you know doing so is illegal
   • circumvent any DRM (Digital Rights Management) technologies
   • make copyrighted songs and movies available to others for downloading
   • use peer-to-peer file sharing applications to distribute or provide
      access to copyrighted material


Copyright in the Classroom

What do you want to assign or use?

Journal articles

Best practices
   • Provide the full citation in the style used in your course
       for the article that you have selected.
   • Find specific journal titles using the Library's Journal Locator
   • Request journal articles via interlibrary loan

If the full-text of the article is available electronically in a Library database
   • provide your students with the article's permalink
   • print the article for your own individual use
   • request that the article be made available on e-reserves

   • download a PDF and then make it available on Blackboard
   • make the article freely available online
   • print the article and put it in a coursepack
      (without permission from the copyright holder)

If the article is available in print format in the Library
   • scan the article and make the link to the article available via Blackboard
   • request that the article be made available on e-reserves
   • copy the article for your own individual use

   • provide the link to the PDF online outside of Blackboard
   • make the article freely available online outside of Blackboard
   • print the article and put it in a coursepack
      (without permission from the copyright holder)

Books and book chapters

Best practices
   • Provide the full citation in the style used in your course for the book
       or book chapters that you have selected.
   • Review the Library's Course Reserve guidelines -
   • Find public domain books via Project Gutenberg, Hathi Trust, and Internet Archive
   • Seek permission from copyright holders for uses that otherwise may not be
      permitted -

If the Library owns a copy of the book
   • request that copies the book be put on reserve at the library
   • copy small portions of the book with the title page and full citation
      for placement on course reserve
   • scan small portions of the book with the title page and full citation
      for placement on e-reserve or on Blackboard

   • copy more than a small portion of the book (the portion
      should not be greater than what is needed to achieve stated objective
      and should not comprise the "heart" of the work )
   • copy any portion of a textbook or workbook
   • make links to chapters freely available online
   • print chapters and include them in a coursepack

If the book is in the public domain
   • copy it, scan it, link to any portion of it, and use it for any purpose
   • make the material freely available online
   • place copies of the book on reserve in the Library
   • find public domain books via Project Gutenberg, Hathi Trust, and Internet Archive

   • copy, scan or share any copyright protected additions to the book
      (illustrations, prefaces, etc.)

Video and sound recordings

Best practices
   • List on your syllabus any recordings you plan on using in class
   • Provide the full citation in the style used in your course
       for all recordings
   • Seek permission or licenses from copyright holders for uses
      that otherwise may not be permitted -
   • Find streaming media in the Library's databases and

If the CD or DVD is in the Library's collection
   • play the recording in a face-to-face class
   • request digitization of clips of a recording for electronic access -

   • play the recording outside of your normally scheduled classroom setting
   • play illegally recorded or downloaded recordings
   • copy recordings to downloadable file formats

If the recording is in the Library's streaming media collection
   • provide permalinks to streaming videos, clips or playlists


Best practices
   • Provide the full citation in the style used in your course for all images
   • Identify Creative Commons licensed images or images licensed for educational use

If the image is available in a Library database
   • provide the permalink to the images
   • make printed copies of the image for term papers, class handouts and research.
   • use images in presentations
   • send individual images via College email to a COD student, faculty or staff member

   • use images for publication outside of the classroom
   • send images to individuals outside of the College
   • make images or links to images freely available online

If the image is available online
   • print or display the image for use in face-to-face teaching
   • provide a link to the image

   • copy and paste images in Blackboard or online*
   • print images and include them in coursepacks*
* unless the image has been made available under a license that allows this use

If the image is in the public domain
   • copy it, scan it, link to it, and use it for any purpose
   • make the material freely available online
   • find public domain images via Wikimedia Commons, Flickr Commons, and Pixabay


Repair, Modify, Tinker & Jailbreak - New Fair Use Protections issued by Librarian of Congress

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Victory for Users: Librarian of Congress Renews and Expands Protections for Fair Uses

Unlock Blue.pngThe new rules for exemptions to copyright's DRM-circumvention laws were issued today, and the Librarian of Congress has granted much of what EFF asked for over the course of months of extensive briefs and hearings. The exemptions we requested—ripping DVDs and Blurays for making fair use remixes and analysis; preserving video games and running multiplayer servers after publishers have abandoned them; jailbreaking cell phones, tablets, and other portable computing devices to run third party software; and security research and modification and repairs on cars—have each been accepted, subject to some important caveats.


10 Myths about Intellectual Property

200px-Green_copyright.svg (1).pngCopyright, Trademark, Patents-- they are three different types of intellectual property with distinct laws and characteristics. Nevertheless, it's easy to confuse the details.
i09 has a handy myth-busting list of popular misconceptions about IP law. Read it here:

What is Copyright?

Basics | Rights of Owners | Works Not Protected | Time Limits | Foreign Works | Digital Millennium Copyright Act


Copyright_symbol_9.gifCopyright protects the rights of the creators of original works, whether published or unpublished, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works. This right was first established by the Constitution, " to 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." (Article 1, Section 8, U.S. Constitution) Although Congress established no particular time limits, several copyright acts since have. Copyright may belong to a single person, multiple persons, or a corporation (works made for hire). Since 1989 the copyright symbol, ©, is no longer necessary, although it affects the remedies a copyright holder may seek for infringement.

Liability for copyright infringement belongs to the person who actually commits the infringement or, in some cases, to the person/corporation who directs the copying.

Rights of Owners

Section 106 of the Copyright Act of October 19, 1976 (Title 17 United States Code) grants certain rights to copyright owners that affect educators who want to reproduce or use materials in their teaching.

§ 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works
Subject to sections 107 through 120, 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; and
  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.

Fortunately, Congress also provided exemptions (§ 107-120) under which educators can make legal use of copyrighted materials. These situations are commonly known as "Fair Use."

Works Not Protected

There are certain types of works that do not qualify for copyright protection. These include:

  • Works that have not been placed in a fixed format. For example, improvisations or musical performances that have not been notated or recorded.
  • Title, names, short phrases, or slogans; variations of lettering or coloring; listings of ingredients or contents.
  • Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from description, explanation, or illustration.
  • Works consisting entirely of information that is common knowledge. For example, standard calendars, height and weight charts, or lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources.
  • Works published by the U. S. Government. Keep in mind that works sponsored, but not published by the Federal Government may have copyright protection. Works published by state governments may or may not be protected; the law varies from state to state.

Time Limits

Copyright protection exists from the time the work is created in fixed form, but the limits vary according to when the work was first published, Lolly Gasaway has produced an excellent chart that demonstrates when works enter the public domain. The chart has been updated to include the extensions made by the Term Extension Act, PL 105-298 (Sonny Bono Act).

Works created before January 1, 1978

  • Copyright began either on the date the work was published with a copyright notice © or on the date it was registered.
  • First term of copyright lasted 28 years.
  • If it was renewed during the 28th year, the renewal term is 67 years.
  • All works copyrighted between January 1, 1964 and December 31, 1977 were automatically renewed.

Works created on or after January 1, 1978

  • Works of single authorship -- life of author, plus 70 years.
  • Joint works -- 70 years after the last surviving author's death.
  • Works made for hire, anonymous and pseudonymous works -- 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
  • In general, for works after 1978, assume it is protected even if the © does not appear.

Special Rules for Unpublished Works

  • Created after January 1, 1978, standard rule applies.
  • Created before January 1, 1978, but never published.
    • Protected until December 31, 2002 or
    • Life of the author plus 70 years.

Foreign Works

The North American Free Trade Agreement Act (NAFTA), P.L.103-182, restored copyright to films that were in the public domain due to copyright compliance problems.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), P.L. 103-465, restored copyright to foreign works that had fallen into the public domain in the United States because of copyright registration problems, but were still protected by copyright in the original country.

If a work from a World Trade Organization (WTO) country is less than 75 years old and is still protected in the original country, copyright was automatically restored when GATT took effect in the United States.

Authors and creators must also remember that the United States is a signator of the Berne Convention so that if you, for example, plan to publish a book in a foreign country of works that are public domain in the United States, but those works would not be public domain in the country of publication, you would be infringing on foreign copyright laws. Remember too that laws vary from nation to nation.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was signed by President Clinton on October 28, 1998. In addition to implementing two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties, it also addresses several important issues relating to education: in particular, Title II, the "Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation" and Title IV, which contains provisions relating to distance education and exceptions in the Copyright Act for libraries.

Summarized here are the implications of the Act for educational institutions. For more complete information refer to the DMCA itself, or Appendix V. (Additional Provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) of Title 17.

Title II establishes limits on copyright infringement liability for online service providers. Its broad definition of "online service providers" includes colleges and universities. It also details "notice and takedown" procedures for material on Web sites that reside on servers maintained by colleges and universities, as well as on servers of other online service providers. The College of DuPage has provided the public with the mechanisms to contest material posted on COD servers. The information is located in the Legal section of the College's website. This Part of the Act was incorporated into Title 17 U. S. Code as:

§ 112 - Limitations on liability relating to material online (e) LIMITATION ON LIABILITY OF NONPROFIT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. - (1) When a public or other nonprofit institution of higher education is a service provider, and when a faculty member or graduate student who is an employee of such institution is performing a teaching or research function, for the purposes of subsections (a) and (b) such faculty member or graduate student shall be considered to be a person other than the institution, and for purposes of subsection's (c) and (d) such faculty member's or graduate student's knowledge or awareness of his or her infringing activities shall not be attributed to the institution, if --

(A) such faculty member's or graduate student's infringing activities do not involve the provision of online access to instructional materials that are or were required or recommended, within the preceding 3-year period, for a course taught at the institution by such faculty member or graduate student;
(B) the institution has not, within the preceding 3-year period, received more than two notifications described in subsection (c) (3) of claimed infringement by such faculty member or graduate student , and such notifications of claimed infringement were not actionable under subsection (f); and
(C) the institution provides to all users of its system or network informational materials that accurately describe, and promote compliance with the laws of the United States relating to copyright.

Title IV makes provisions for a study on copyright and distance education. It directs the Copyright Office to consult with the effected parties and make recommendations to Congress. Although the Report on Distance Education has been completed, amendments adding the issues are still being considered, refer to New Developments for updates. Title IV also amends the exemption for libraries and archives to accommodate digital technologies in the preservation of materials. It increases the number of archival copies from one to three, providing those copies are only made available on library premises. It also allows libraries to archive a work in a new format providing the original format is obsolete (i. e. the machine used to access the copy is no longer in production or no longer available in the commercial marketplace).

Remember, these same rights which we, as educators, may find constricting in teaching, protect the intellectual property that we produce.

The information on this site is intended to inform the faculty, staff and
students at the College of DuPage about copyright and to provide guidelines
for using and creating copyrighted material. The information should not
be considered legal advice.

For more information contact the Library's Copyright Liaison


Copyright Basics for Online Instructors

What do you need to know about Copyright to teach online?
First, know that material is either protected by copyright or it's not.

If the work isn't protected by copyright, you can use as much as you like, however you like. This includes:

  • Works that are not copyrightable
  • Works where the copyright has expired
  • Works that have been put into the public domain by their creators

If the work is protected by copyright, you may still be able to use it in your class. Your options include:

For more information about these options, review the content below:

1. The TEACH Act

The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002 or "TEACH Act" permits teachers and students of accredited, nonprofit educational institutions to transmit performances and displays of copyrighted works as part of a course if certain conditions are met.

TEACH Act requires the copyrighted work to be:

  1. A legal copy
  2. Used as part of a course taught by an instructor (online, hybrid, face-to-face)
  3. Restricted to students in the course
  4. Not produced or marketed for instructional use
  5. Selected by instructor or at instructor’s direction (not students sharing files)
  6. Directly related to learning goals of the course
  7. Comparable to amount that would be used in a live classroom session
  8. A reasonable and limited portion the works if it is a dramatic literary or musical work (films, plays, operas)

For more information about the TEACH Act see

2. Fair Use

"Fair Use" is an exception to copyright law, that allows anyone to reproduce copyright-protected works without permission for certain purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. One of the primary goals of Fair Use is to provide individuals an opportunity to transform copyrighted work-- to copy it for a use that is different than its intended purpose.

When considering "transformativeness," ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did the unlicensed use “transform” the material or repeat the work for the same intent and value?
  • Was the material taken appropriate in kind and amount?

When deciding whether your use is "fair," you must consider the following factors:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of 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
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

Use the online Fair Use Evaluator to help you weigh the four factors as you evaluate the "fairness" of your use.

3. Educational Exceptions

Exceptions for Education
The U.S. Copyright Code provides for the educational use of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder under certain conditions.

The free, online Educational Exemptions tool is an easy way to find out if your intended use meets the requirements set out in the law

This tool can also help you collect information detailing your educational use and provide you with a summary in PDF format.

Movie Clips
College instructors are permitted to circumvent encrypted (or "rip") DVDs in order to use short portions of films for educational uses including documentary film-making and the creation of noncommercial videos. TEACH Act requirements apply.

The free, open-source, multi-platform tool Handbrake converts video from nearly every format and can be used legally to rip DVDs.

4. Creative Commons Licences & Public Domain

Navigating the tricky terrain of copyright is much easier if you know that you are able to use certain materials freely in your online class. By using items in the public domain and works made available through a Creative Commons license, you can avoid the confusing requirements of the TEACH Act, Fair Use and other exceptions.

Public Domain
Works in the Public Domain are not protected by copyright. These include:

  • Works whose copyright has expired
  • Works created by the U.S. Government
  • Works that are not eligible for copyright protection

Not sure if the copyright on a work has expired? Try the online Digital Copyright Slider.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons licenses allow creators to retain their copyright, but also provide certain permissions for use up front. This means that you don't need to ask permission-- just look at the terms of the license.
Licenses range from the very open CC BY license, which only requires attribution:
Creative Commons License
to more restrictive CC BY NC ND license which prevents commercial and derivative uses:
Creative Commons License
For more information about Creative Common licenses, visit



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