College of the Canyons
26455 Rockwell Canyon Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Located in Bonelli Hall, Room 125
Phone: (661) 362-3325
Fax: (661) 362-5421
Quick Links: What is copyright? l Purpose of copyright l Copyright and faculty
Copyright exceptions l Fair use l Classroom copies l Copyright violations l Final thoughts
As a matter of policy, the College of the Canyons Reprographic Department abides by the intent and spirit of U.S. Copyright Law, which covers a significant portion of the work the department is requested to perform. Rapidly evolving technologies and ever-expanding access to information have made it easier than ever to duplicate others' works. But that doesn't make it right -- or legal.
What's the harm, you might ask, in making a few unauthorized copies here and there? They are, after all, for educational purposes. Besides, aren't copies for the classroom exempt from copyright law?
Yes. And no.
Embedded within U.S. law is a concept known as Fair Use, which recognizes that some uses of copyrighted works should not require permission. Such uses should be minimal and not interfere with the copyright holder's exclusive right to reproduce and reuse the work.
Although copyright law itself is voluminous and far-reaching, it can be vague in certain areas. One of those areas is Fair Use. Instead of providing specific examples of what Fair Use allows, the law offers a general outline to be applied to specific situations. The responsibility of which course to take falls with the college and, more specifically, the requestor and provider of duplicated works.
Fair Use is designed primarily for those engaged in commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education. But it does not grant instructors a license to copy anything they please simply because it's in the realm of education. Not all uses in an academic setting are considered Fair Use.
It's important to point out that Fair Use is not an exemption to copyright compliance. The college can still be sued for copyright infringement. It would then fall upon the college to assert a Fair Use defense - then prove it. Although we might be able to argue a strong defense, we'd rather avoid legal action in the first place. Another important consideration is liability. Not only can the college be prosecuted and fined, so too can the individual requesting copies and the staff member who fulfills the order. Case law reveals that it can -- and does -- happen.
As you read the rest of this report and review, for instance, the outline to apply to cases of perceived Fair Use, you should realize how complicated this law can be and how difficult it can be to interpret accurately. Every situation is unique and different, and the Reprographic Department will do its best to accommodate your request. But when in doubt, we err on the side of caution. That means we will most likely insist that you obtain permission from the copyright holder.
As a taxpayer-supported public institution of higher learning, College of the Canyons has a responsibility to follow the law of the land. We will be vigilant in protecting the district from unnecessary prosecution and financial liability.
The next time you request a copy job and there is an issue concerning copyright, please understand that we're here to help you, but we will not knowingly break the law or put the college -- or our jobs -- at risk so that you can have your copies.
- The legal protection given to published works, forbidding anyone but the author from publishing, selling or reproducing them.
- Published works can take many forms, including but not limited to newspapers, textbooks, software, movies and music.
- It is governed by the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. Copyright violation is a federal offense.
Copyright exists for three basic reasons:
- To reward authors for their original works;
- To encourage availability of the works to the public; and
- To facilitate access and use of copyrighted works by the public in certain circumstances.
Copyright and faculty
- Some faculty members have a misconception that copyright law does not apply to them because of the academic setting.
- The impropriety of unauthorized copying has often been overlooked in academic settings.
- Unauthorized copying is a convenient solution to an immediate problem, but it violates the law and is contrary to the academic mission of teaching respect for ideas.
- Dissemination of ideas in an academic setting does not give educators blanket authority to violate copyright law.
- Copyright law attempts to balance the creator's interests against the public interest.
- Educators must be diligent in making sure we are not violating the rights of authors.
Circumstances exist in the academic setting in which the reproduction of copyrighted works is appropriate. Reproduction is allowed by:
- Specific exemptions in copyright law;
- Fair Use guidelines granted to educators; and
- Licenses or written permission from the copyright owner.
Faculty may make single copies of the following for scholarly research or use in teaching:
- A single chapter from a book;
- A single article from a newspaper;
- A short story, short essay or short poem; or
- A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper.
Multiple copies (no more than one per student) may be made for classroom use provided they meet the tests for brevity, spontaneity and cumulative effect:
- Poem or excerpt of less than 250 words.
- Complete article or essay, less than 250 words.
- Excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of work, whichever is less.
- One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or periodical issue.
- For complete works with less than 2,500 words, only two published pages containing no more than 10 percent of the words.
- The copying is the idea of an individual instructor.
- The idea to use the work and the time when it will be used are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.
3. CUMULATIVE EFFECT
- The copying of the material is for only one course at the school.
- Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
- No more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term.
You may NOT make copies:
- To create, replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works.
- From works that are considered "consumable" in the course of study, i.e. workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, test booklets and answer sheets.
- To substitute for the purchase of books, publishers' reprints or periodicals.
- That are illegal even if directed to do so by someone of higher authority.
- Of the same materials by the same instructor from term to term.
- And charge students more than the actual cost of the photocopying.
- Copyright law is confusing and always changing.
- Interpretation of the law is in a continual state of evolution. Don't let the college become a test case in copyright law.
- In most cases, common sense and a willingness to abide by the intent and spirit of the law will help guide you to the right decision.
- Please be reasonable and patient with Reprographic Department staff. They must balance their desire to help you and protect the college's interests.
- Both the individual requesting the copying and the individual performing the copying are personally liable in cases of copyright violation. Both can be prosecuted and fined.