Home Law Copyright Questions and Answers for Information Professionals
Copyright Questions and Answers for Information Professionals
ForewordPrefaceCHAPTER 1. Copyright BasicsWhat does it take to create a copyrighted work? Does it have to be registered for protection?What is the public policy reason for awarding copyright to the authors of letters? Are facsimile copies of public domain works still under copyright?When someone produces a genealogical transcription, is that transcription copyrightable?Is it true that nothing will enter the public domain until the year 2019? Why? Who initiated and pushed for such change in the copyright law?Does "publishing" include mimeographed reports, memos, and leaflets that are distributed to group or organization members?What is the copyright status of state court briefs? If there is no copyright notice on a government document, should a library assume that it is not copyrighted?When a university faculty member creates material while employed by the university, who owns the copyright?Are student works submitted for courses considered to be owned by the institution that is awarding course credit? What rights does an individual researcher who is an employee have to own the copyright in works she produced if the research is conducted, and resulting report or article created, in house?Is there sufficient creative content in cataloging records to make them eligible for copyright protection?Why is it okay for people to use quotes from others in their e-mail signature lines? Is it because quotes are brief, and not a full representation of someone's work?From an institutional point of view, should universities encourage faculty to register their copyrighted works?How can an author modify copyright transfer agreements with journal publishers to reserve some individual rights? What sorts of changes are most often needed?If a scholar translates an ancient Greek or Roman work, or one from the Renaissance, are there any copyright issues?When does the estate of the author come into the picture for the expiration of copyrights?How are international publications covered under U.S. law? Are they protected?CHAPTER 2. Copies for UsersWhen making copies for users, does it make a difference if the library is part of a for-profit entity?How often may a library copy from the same journal title and what restrictions apply?Should a library be concerned that researchers are using digital cameras to make reproductions of both published and unpublished works from their collections?If an academic librarian is preparing a presentation for students and colleagues, may she incorporate content from a blog without infringing copyright?A faculty member at the college wants to compile a number of journal articles on a particular topic and put them on a CD to distribute to other faculty members. Is this permissible?The university has an extensive distance learning program, and the library is asked to serve the needs of these students. How can the library provide copies of materials to these students?What liability does an individual librarian or library have when a student or patron needs help using the copy machine?What if someone wants to write a cookbook, and although the work uses strictly original recipes, it is later discovered that a similar recipe was previously published? Is it infringement?For a no credit keyboarding course for which there is no textbook, may the professor make copies of handouts directly from a single textbook to distribute to the class?Instructors and students copy the same course materials semester after semester. Whose responsibility is it for setting copyright policies and following copyright guidelines: the administration, the library, or faculty?What are the copyright issues regarding copying an assessment tool that was published in i960 and reproduced many times in various texts? Is it infringement to reproduce the tool?CHAPTER 3. Library ReservesMay a library place on reserve a copy of a journal issue that is personally owned by a faculty member? If so, may it remain on reserve for multiple semesters?If an instructor owns a copy of a commercially produced video, may she make an additional copy and place that copy in the library for course reserve materials? Does it matter that the video is out of print?If an instructor puts on reserve a journal reprint that she purchased, is it permissible to keep it on reserve for more than one semester without copyright permission? Does the first sale doctrine apply?May a library make multiple copies of clinical guidelines that are published in an association publication or a professional journal and put the copies on reserve?When seeking permission to use a copyrighted work for an electronic reserves system, is e-mail permission sufficient?A college library has offered electronic reserves for four years. Should it now revise its e-reserves policies based on the TEACH Act?For electronic reserves, is impermissible for the library to link to an article in an online database?The library has been asked to scan a number of copyrighted images and to put the copies into the electronic reserve system. Is it infringement to duplicate photographs and images for reserve collections?What is the responsibility of a faculty member who learns that her students are reproducing full copies of materials placed on reserve for a course?CHAPTER 4. Permissions and LicensingWhat constitutes a good faith effort in trying to contact copyright owners? Does it differ if the work is an orphan work?How does one prove that that he or she has permission to copy (generic for reproduce, perform, display, and so forth) a copyrighted work? Must one have a signed document to that effect?A community college regularly films the lectures of speakers invited to speak on campus. In order to place a video copy of the lecture online, must the institution seek permission? Is a webinar the same thing?Is it necessary for scholars who are writing historical works about a particular region of the country to obtain permission to quote three stanzas from relevant old songs?What are the pros and cons of a blanket license from the Copyright Clearance Center for a noneducational but nonprofit organization?Why do so many journal publishers include in their license agreements restriction on divulging the terms of the license, including price of the subscription?May a university library provide temporary access to the university's online databases to individuals who are not enrolled students?May public libraries use tutorials created under a Creative Commons license on their library websites without worry about infringement? What would happen if the owner decided to sue for infringement?What are the copyright rules for downloadable books?Many libraries are lending e-books on a Kindle. Is this infringement to lend a Kindle loaded with copyrighted books acquired from Amazon?For an e-mail reference question, may a reference librarian copy and paste something from an online database into the response to the user?The principal in a small private school wants to photocopy a musical play that is permanently out of print. The school would also like to perform the play. Would the school have to pay royalties, too?CHAPTER 5. Performance and Display: Libraries and Other OrganizationsMay a library book club show a commercial motion picture to its members and still comply with copyright?May a library show a DVD series in its lobby on a plasma television set in order to promote interest in the series? The library has purchased a copy of the DVD series for the collection.What is a public library's affirmative obligation when a patron charges out a movie on DVD and tells the circulation librarian of his intention to use it for a public performance?If a library wants to play a live television broadcast within a nonprofit library, is there a copyright problem?Is a home school class in a public library the same as a traditional classroom for fair use purposes?Is it infringement for a children's librarian to read a book to children during story hour at a public or school library?May a touchscreen smart board be used for story time in a public library?Playing music recordings at dance schools is a very common practice. Should the school pay royalties for this? What about dance classes at a college? How does copyright apply to dance clubs with a disc jockey?A nonprofit organization purchased the performance rights for a play. During the performance, the play was video recorded. Who owns the copyright in the recordingthe playwright, the director, or the actors?The public library staff puts on an annual show for the community that consists of music with lyrics written by staff members. Is it infringement to include popular songs to which the staff writes its own lyrics?Is it permissible to play ambient music in the background at a library?A community group shows a feature film to an audience in the public library free of charge in order to raise awareness about an important social issue. Is this infringement?Is it infringement to scan scientific slides or images to use in a presentation at a professional meeting?A library is planning a party around the Oscars. How far can it go in using the Oscar theme and the image of Oscar?CHAPTER 6. Performance and Display: Nonprofit Educational InstitutionsArt students in a nonprofit educational institution create collages using graphics, photographs, found objects, and the like. Is it fair use to display these collages in the school?Many radio stations use sound bites of recorded music of less than 30 seconds. What is the station's obligation to the copyright owner? Does this apply to education?High school students put on a show each year for the public that is a parody or satire. Is there any problem with this or is it excused as a fair use?Is a college dormitory common area considered to be a "public place," which therefore would need public performance licenses to perform videos?CHAPTER 7. Audiovisual Works, Sound Recordings, and SoftwareMay a library make backup copies of audiovisual works and CD-ROMs in order to preserve them? They are quickly out of print, and replacing them often is impossible.How can a library stop a patron from burning CDs? The library asks no questions and places no limits on the number of CDs a patron reproduces.May a library make a copy of an item it owns that is in an obsolete medium (for example converting VHS tapes to DVD)? If so, may the reproduced copies be used outside of the library?The school has an old filmstrip that it wants to convert to DVD. May it do so?A college has videos of faculty giving presentations, conducting review lectures, and demonstrating different techniques.PowerPoint Viewer is a free download. A librarian wants to put the program on a CD and distribute it at no charge. Does it require permission to do so?Section 108(f)(3) of the Copyright Act appears to be a very unusual section that allows libraries to record television news programs. What is the reason for this provision?May a library circulate software (e.g., Microsoft Office products), as long as they contain the copyright warning?When shareware or freeware has been downloaded from the Internet, is it copyright infringement to "beam it" to a colleague's handheld device?The Copyright Act appears particularly outdated as it pertains to audiovisual works. Why does Congress not update it?CHAPTER 8. Photographs and GraphicsAre photographs published or unpublished for copyright purposes?A faculty member wants to post on the course web page photographs taken by students in the class and papers written by them. Does this present a copyright problem?How does one deal with copyright on a photograph taken prior to 1900 where the photographer is unknown and not identified on the image?Is free clip art considered to be public domain? What is expected of writers when they use clip art from Microsoft programs?A photographer has donated his negatives to the library. Does the library now own the copyright in the photographs?For bulletin boards in a public library's children's area, is there any restriction on posting graphics found on the Internet or copying them from books?A teacher wishes to use photographs and other material in a professional presentation for which she is not being paid. Is this the same as an "educational" presentation since it is an employment-enhancing activity?The library is sponsoring a book talk by a famous author. May it post a photograph of the author and a photocopy of his work on the library's website? What about the book jacket from his latest book?If a patron asks to scan an entire collection of postcards or photographs for personal use, should the library permit her to do so?CHAPTER 9. The Internet and the WebIs three paragraphs of a copyrighted work too much to put on a web page?May a library use any material found on the web that does not contain a notice of copyright and incorporate that material into a library web page?How much of a copyrighted video may be copied and put on a web page by a public library?A library patron downloads an article from the library's online subscription to a journal or database and alters it. He then posts the altered article on a web page. Who is liable, the library or the patron?Faculty members often want to copy material from other websites for course web pages rather than linking to the websites. Is this copyright infringement?A library is considering downloading audio books as a less expensive alternative to purchasing the books on CD. Would this present copyright concerns?A faculty member has downloaded articles from a licensed online database and wants to mount them on his web page so that students may use them. Is this copyright infringement?Some of the faculty members in a particular academic department want to post their published articles on the institution's external website in PDF format. Will publishers readily give permission for this?Is it necessary to password protect course web pages, Blackboard pages, and the like, or can they be accessed by anyone?Are web links (just the URLs) copyrightable?If a journal wants to publish papers on a journal website that were not accepted to appear in the printed version, what are the copyright concerns it should address for the web publication?A school takes the position that fair use does not apply to audio podcasts since they are syndicated and are not confined to the classroom. Is this correct?The library has been asked to scan the school yearbooks onto a CD-ROM to use in the library and then to publish the yearbooks from 1920 to the present on the web. Are there copyright problems with doing this?When a library creates a website, is the HTML code protected by copyright? There appears to be some disagreement among the experts on this matter.If a library has scanned various photographs, local documents, newspaper articles, and the like, and has created a searchable local history database, should the library use any disclaimer about copyright?CHAPTER 10. Interlibrary Loan and Document DeliveryAre there different rules that apply for interlibrary loan copying?When filling an interlibrary loan request, what information regarding copyright does the lending library need to include?How can the provider of full-text articles in a database restrict delivery of articles from that database via interlibrary loan? Is there a difference between electronic delivery versus printing and manual delivery?Is it necessary to maintain a paper record of interlibrary loan borrower requests that are submitted by patrons, or is an electronic record of the past three years' requests sufficient?In a nonprofit research institute, can a researcher send a PDF of an article that the institute purchased to multiple collaborators on a project? It is to support the work on a project.Should a public library include a copyright notice on all copies of articles it provides to satisfy interlibrary loan requests?If a library is the only one in the region that has a license for a full-text journal, what is the library's responsibility to fill interlibrary loan requests from that journal by making a copy for requesting libraries?More and more frequently the library is being asked to reproduce a whole journal for document delivery. Is there any reason not to do this?CHAPTER 11. Preservation and ArchivingBoth sections 108(c) and (e) require a library to make a reasonable effort to acquire an unused copy of a work at a "fair price." But section 108(h) specifies a "reasonable price." What is the difference?May a library make backup copies of audiovisual works and CD-ROMs in order to preserve them? They are easily damaged, quickly out of print and replacing them often is impossible.If a library is the repository of the only copy of a work that was ever produced, do the rules governing digital preservation apply? Does the original format of the work make any difference?If a CD-ROM becomes damaged and unplayable may the library replace it by making another copy from the original or making a copy from another library's original?The library has a book with a particularly nice book jacket; unfortunately, this dust jacket has been damaged. May the library reproduce the book jacket to replace the damaged one?If a for-profit library sets up vertical files on subjects, areas of interests, trends in the industry, and so forth, may it photocopy journal and newspaper articles and place them in the vertical file?How useful has section 108(h) been to libraries and archives?How long should a school archive its e-mails? Do e-mails that contain copyrighted material subject the institution to liability for infringement due to the archiving?In old deeds of gifts to libraries for manuscripts, the term "literary rights" or "literary property rights" reserved often appears. What does this mean?If the author of a personal letter owns the copyright in the letter but the recipient owns the only copy of the letter, what can the owner of the copy do? What are the rights of the author's heirs?If an author of a work conveys by deed of gift the rights to their work, what does that include? Does the library then own the copyright?How should a library deal with copying correspondence from its manuscript collection at the request of patrons?CHAPTER 12. DigitizationA library has old journals in storage and wants to digitize them. If a journal is still being published today, are the back issues in the public domain? Or is the publication still protected?Professors often ask librarians why the library does not just go ahead and digitize the entire collection. How should one respond to this?If a library has old public domain documents (published in the United States before 1923) is a new copyright created by microfilming or digitizing the documents?For a library digitization project of documents published by the university, is copyright permission necessary? The library will make these documents available on the web.If a library has a large collection of old sheet music that is deteriorating, may it digitize the collection and make it available on the web?CHAPTER 13. Miscellaneous IssuesWhat should an independent business research firm do when its clients request monthly digests or synopses of news developments on various topics?How does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) affect copyright? What about a university library that reproduces a dissertation in a large-print or digital version for use by a visually impaired student?What is the difference between the composer's rights and royalties, those of the music publishing company, and the recording company?May someone redraw a painting from the library collection and use his drawing for a brochure advertising the library's special collections without infringing copyright? Librarians must often explain copyright law to patrons, including students and faculty. How should this be done?Why there is a debate over whether fair use is a defense or a right, and does it makes any difference?What rights does a library in a for-profit educational institution have concerning reproduction and other exceptions to the Copyright Act?Are public libraries considered educational institutions? What criteria are used to determine whether an organization is a nonprofit educational institution as part of the fair use exception?Are there any copyright rules about corporate employee donations of personal or professional association journals to the private corporate library?If a university is drafting a copyright policy, is it better to create it as a part of the patent policy or as a separate policy?What is the personal liability for a librarian who writes copyright guidelines for faculty when faculty members either do not understand the guidelines and infringe or simply do not comply with them?A campus is drafting a copyright policy and has asked the librarian who should be on the committee to produce the policy.What is the purpose and meaning of the requirement in section 108(a)(2) of the Copyright Act that a library be open to the public in order to enjoy the library exceptions found in section 108?Many academic institutions now have copyright or scholarly communications officers. What do these people do?Articles and books about copyright often refer to statutory damages. What are statutory damages? How do they differ from other types of damages?What is the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for copyright infringement? How long does someone have to discover the infringement before the statute of limitations begins to run?If an author abandons copyright or makes an item available under a Creative Commons (CC) license, can the heirs try to enforce the copyright after the author's death?EPILOGUE. Emerging Challenges in CopyrightAn academic librarian asks about the judge's rejection of the Google Books Settlement 2.0 proposal. What has happened since then? Are library users disadvantaged by this decision?HathiTrust is an organization that will preserve works digitally and make them available to researchers. Why has the Authors Guild sued the HathiTrust? What is the likely outcome?The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is such a great idea. Why is it not progressing more rapidly? What problems has it encountered?Why did publishers sue Georgia State University (GSU), claiming that it has infringed copyright? What is the status of the litigation?Will the recent case involving the first sale doctrine and foreign-made works have any impact on libraries?Why are textbook companies objecting to the production of electronic textbooks? There was a news report about a case involving this.A few years ago there was a study and a report on section 108 of the Copyright Act of 1976. What has happened with the recommendations for amending the statute?