Online Resources

Digital Content and Copyright Information and Law

Useful Online Resources

Today, relatively inexpensive devices when used in conjunction with the World Wide Web permit the reproduction and publishing to a vast audience. Special care must be taken in the handling of original work, public domain materials, royalty-free-license-free materials, or copyrighted materials. All digital publications of Saint Mary's College must follow established standards regarding the reproduction of copyrighted materials. When questions arise regarding the application of legal rulings and precedents to electronic publishing, the Saint Mary's College community follows these standards as formulated in the following statements of policy and guidelines regarding Copyright and "fair use" policy.

Online source material pertaining to current Copyright law and practice.

  1. IUPUI's incomparable Copyright Management Center, with its useful references on Fair Use for Teaching and Research developed under Ken Crew's leadership ranks as one of the most useful resources.
  2. University of Texas's Copyright Law in the Electronic Environment provides is an excellent "Crash Course in Copyright" and explanation of the issues surrounding Copyright and the Fair Use exemption.
  3. The University of Texas provides a very readable set of "Rules of Thumb" for the Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials and a clear way of determining whether you will need permission to use a copyrighted work.
  4. Stanford University provides a searchable database of references on Copyright Law and practice and includes the following summary:

    The "fair use" doctrine allows limited reproduction of copyrighted works for educational and research purposes. The relevant portion of the copyright statue provides that the "fair use" of a copyrighted work, including reproduction "for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research" is not an infringement of copyright. The law lists the following factors as the ones to be evaluated in determining whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is a permitted "fair use," rather than an infringement of the copyright:

    • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    • the nature of the copyrighted work;
    • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
    • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Although all of these factors will be considered, the last factor is the most important in determining whether a particular use is "fair."

  1. A Visit to the Copyright Bay site, courtesy of St. Francis University, provides a simple guide for the perplexed educator who nees to apply "fair use" in educational settings.
  2. University of Iowa's Overview of Fair Use considerations could be useful
  3. University of Rochester's Fair Use Analysis Worksheet used to weigh the four factors of fair use doctrine when working on a specific project)
  4. Analysis of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act written for the Association of Research Libraries
  5. 10 myths about Copyright
  6. The Cornell Institute for Digital Collections publishes a useful online guide "When Works Pass Into the Public Domain" and the Cornell Copyright Center provides a number of helpful resources including online tutorials, guides, and decision trees that help to clarify the complex issues surrounding Fair Use, Copyright, and changes resulting from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.