CEBTS - Consortium of European Baptist Theological Schools


Copyright issues - Summary Links

Author:
Eileen Saner
Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Elkhart, IN 46517 USA

Copyright in the United States, 1976-
Copyright Act, Title 17 of the United States Code

Copyright law gives the "author" of a creative work exclusive rights for a limited time with certain exceptions. The author may transfer these rights to others. The rights are to

  • reproduce and distribute copies of the work.
  • create derivative works based on the work.
  • perform and display the work publicly.

The rights apply to literary, musical, dramatic, artistic works, not to facts, ideas, concepts …

The work must be "fixed in a tangible means of expression" (paper, film, computer disk) Since 1978, it does not need the copyright symbol © to be protected.

What is the purpose of copyright legislation?

To reward creators by giving them the exclusive right to make money from their creations.

To encourage creators to improve society by creating more knowledge and beauty.

How is copyright enforced?

Copyright holders who believe their rights have been violated take the offenders to court.

Judges interpret the law to determine whether indeed there has been a violation.

Users of copyrighted works adjust practice based on the outcomes of court cases.

How can you determine whether an item is protected by copyright?

Listings of facts such as a telephone number directory cannot be protected by copyright.

If it is a creative work "fixed in a tangible means of expression" and it is not in the "public domain", it is protected by copyright.

Since 1978, the copyright symbol is not required.

What is "public domain" and when does a copyrighted work pass into the "public domain".

A work whose term of copyright protection has expired or a work that was not subject to copyright protection is "in the public domain". It may be freely copied, distributed, performed, etc.

When U.S. Works Pass into the Public Domain http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm

How can you determine who holds the copyright?

The creator of the work holds the copyright unless he/she has transferred it to a publisher or distributor. Examine the article for information.

WATCH a database for determining who holds copyright http://tyler.hrc.utexas.edu

Exceptions and Limitations of Copyright

Fair use; libraries; distance learning; performances and displays in face-to-face teaching; etc.

Fair Use

"The fair use of a copyright work, including such use … for purposes such as criticism, coment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright." From Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976.

Section 107 includes a list of four factors the court must consider in assessing fair use.

  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 copyright work as a whole; and the effect of the use on the potential market or value of the copyrighted work.
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Checklist for Fair Use.
http://www.copyright.iupui.edu/checklist.pdf

Decision-making guide using the four factors that integrates copyright law and rulings by judges in relevant court cases. Determining fair use in each individual case requires balancing the four factors.

Web Resources

  • Handbook on Copyright and Related Issues for Libraries. Electronic Information for Libraries
    http://www.eifl.net/services/handbook.htm

    An international perspective on legal questions affecting the information work of libraries in the digital environment. Sponsored by UNESCO, an agency of the United Nations, each topic is described briefly, the main policy aspects for libraries are outlined and there are links to library policy statements for further reading.

  • Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright and Neighbouring Rights in the Digital Environment: an International Library Perspective (2002). International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters.
    http://www.ifla.org/III/clm/p1/ilp.htm

    Another international perspective.

  • Campus Copyright Rights and Responsibilities
    http://aaupnet.org/aboutup/issues/Campus_Copyright.pdf

    Balanced description of U.S. copyright for academic institutions prepared by associations representing higher education, academic libraries, and publishers. Includes practical advice.

  • Checklist for Fair Use.
    http://www.copyright.iupui.edu/checklist.pdf

    Decision-making guide using the four factors that integrates copyright law and rulings by judges in relevant court cases. Determining fair use in each individual case requires balancing the four factors.

  • Crash Course in Copyright.
    http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellectualproperty/cprtindx.htm

    Clever online tutorial.

  • When Works Pass into the Public Domain by Laura Gassaway, librarian/lawyer
    http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm

    A table based on all the relevant U.S. laws.

  • Copyright Navigator: A Digital Annotated Concept Map of the Fundamentals of U.S. Copyright Law by Lionel Sobel
    http://navigator.carolon.net/

    Another clever online representation.

  • Copyright Information Center, Cornell University
    http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/

    Cornell University policies were shaped in response to a threatened law suit on use of scanned documents on course websites.

Conference for theological librarians 2007


CEBTS

Contact e-mail: info@cebts.eu

More contacts »