Copyright @ Fontbonne University

Copyright Policy and Forms

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Fontbonne's copyright policy is outlined in Section 2.5 of Volume II of the Fontbonne policy manualsCampus Community Policies. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t all educational use Fair Use?

No, unfortunately not. Each user of copyright-protected material is responsible for compliance. Each use must be carefully assessed. If the material is not in the public domain or licensed to allow use, an exemption (Fair Use or TEACH Act) must be appropriately invoked and documented, or permission should be sought.

Can’t everything on the Web be used without permission?

No! The work is likely copyrighted and should be treated as such. Assessment needs to be made when the site says that it is in the public domain or can be used for teaching. Those claiming to give such permission may not be the actual copyright holder. Such claims will not protect violators should a copyright holder object to use. Look for ‘Terms & Conditions’ or ‘Terms of Use’ or similar link for information about permissions necessary for use of information on the site. These links are often near the bottom of the webpage.

I have a VHS tape that is getting worn out. Can I digitize it?

If the work is available in a digital format, buy it to show in your class (or ask the library to buy a copy or streaming rights). If it's not available in digital format and it is a legal copy, it can be digitized as long as it can reasonably be described as deteriorating. The original must also be retained. Many public libraries offer free conversion services. 

Can I copy a chapter or article as a handout for my lecture?

You may be able to do this but you must evaluate according to the Fair Use exemption for your answer. Also, remember that copyright law never restricts you from directing your students to a link for a copyrighted work.

What if I request permission and they don’t respond?

Lack of response does not translate into a passive grant of permission to use.

What if the work is out of print? Is that the same as out of copyright?

No! An “out of print” work may still be protected by copyright and should be approached as a work still in print.

What if I can’t find contact information for the copyright holder? For example, the publisher is out of business or the author is deceased.

These situations present the problem of a work whose copyright holder cannot be located, despite reasonable efforts. The US Copyright Office has recognized this problem, calling such works “orphan works”. Work is being done to mitigate the liability risk involved in using such works. At the present time, however, educators must make individual decisions concerning the use of such works, including evaluating the risk of liability. Those who proceed with use should document and preserve their efforts to locate the copyright holder.

Does the setting of the class – face-to-face or online – affect how I can use a work?

The law allows different uses in different settings:

  • If the use is in a face-to-face classroom, fair use or use of campus-licensed works affects determination about whether permission is needed.
  • If the setting is an online course, the TEACH Act can affect the determination.
  • If the course is a combination of both settings, consider which setting offers the best opportunities for the use you have in mind.

How do I know if the work I want to use is covered by a campus license?

You can check the digital resources and databases available on the Fontbonne University Library’s website. If you have questions, contact your Library Liaison who can assist you.

Does the TEACH Act allow the streaming of whole copies of music or motion media?

No! Other than permission, there is currently NO justification or protection for streaming whole copies of music or motion media. Licensed media may be available for this use –Films on Demand, for example. Contact your Library Liaison for details.

Can I use all or part of a copyrighted movie or piece of music in my online class?

In order to fit within the TEACH ACT guideline, you may use a “reasonable” portion of a movie or piece of music. (This differs from a face-to-face class where you may play the entire work.) The copy you excerpt from must be a lawfully made copy and not specifically designed and marketed for online courses. You may digitize the reasonable portions you intend to use from a VHS or other non-digital version as long as there is no digital version available or the digital version is not encrypted. The TEACH Act does not permit you to make a DVD of online clips to be distributed to your students.

Can I display a copyrighted picture, image, graph, comic, or chart in my online class?

Yes, as long as it is a work you would have shown in a face-to-face classroom setting and you comply with the other general TEACH Act requirements.

Can a faculty member scan a copyrighted article and post it at a password-protected course site for a limited time?

Compliance with TEACH, fair use, or copyright permission is required. An easier answer would be to insert a persistent link from a licensed electronic resource into your course site, if available.

If instructors scan articles, create pdf files, and post in learning management systems Canvas, are they covered by TEACH?

This is a very broad question and contains multiple permutations and scenarios. TEACH only authorizes displays in an amount comparable to what would be typically displayed in a live classroom setting. Posting within a learning management system does not relieve a faculty member from the requirements of copyright law. Consider, instead, providing a persistent link in the learning management system for your students from one of the library’s electronic resources.

If you do post selections in your course, be sure to remind students they are subject to copyright can only be used during the term the course is offered and for the specific purposes of the class. 

Are images and clip art downloaded from Microsoft copyrighted?

Nothing is exempt from copyright. You are bound by the terms of Microsoft’s End User License Agreement when using clips from their website. If you have a valid license for MS Office, you can make personal use of the clips but may not use them in a logo or create an item to be sold from the clipart, i.e., a book of clipart images.

Can I use a cartoon in class? - face-to-face or online

Again, consider the Fair Use provisions and the TEACH Act. If you need to request permission, this site might be helpful:

Can I download an article or make a copy for my own use?

Single-use copying is subject to fair-use analysis as well. A single copy of a portion of a copyright-protected work, such as a copy of an article from a scientific journal made for research, may be made by the individual without permission. Copying all the assignments from a book recommended for purchase by the instructor, making multiple copies of articles or book chapters for distribution, or copying material from consumable workbooks all require permission. The person making the copies is responsible for abiding by copyright law.

Teaching Copyright

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a curriculum for teaching copyright and its components.

Obtaining Permission

If you have determined that your use does not constitute a Fair Use and that the TEACH Act does not allow you an exemption, you will need to seek permission from the copyright holder to use the work.

Steps to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:

  • Identify the copyright holder or agent. 
  • Decide if you are willing to pay a licensing fee/royalty. If so, move to Step 3.
  • Send a written request for permission. Remember to give yourself ample lead time, as the process for obtaining permissions can take months.
  • File the written permission with other materials for that course.

If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), be prepared to use a limited amount that qualifies For fair Use or use alternative material. Lack of response does not constitute permission.

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