Desktop version

Home arrow Law

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font


<<   CONTENTS   >>

Faculty members often want to copy material from other websites for course web pages rather than linking to the websites. Is this copyright infringement?

Reproducing copyrighted works on the web is no different than reproducing them by photocopying or any other method. In this situation, linking is a much better alternative. Reproduction is the problem. When this reproduction is done for the class just for display, it may be exempted under section 110(1) of the Copyright Act, the classroom exemption. If it is posted in course management software, then the faculty member should make sure that the work reproduced complies with the Guidelines on Multiple Copying for Classroom Use (Classroom Guidelines) for text, or section 110(2) for performances and displays for distance education and online instruction, or that it qualifies as a section 107 fair use. Otherwise, the faculty member should seek permission.

A library is considering downloading audio books as a less expensive alternative to purchasing the books on CD. Would this present copyright concerns?

Yes, there are copyright concerns if the intent is to download books onto a server so that multiple users can listen to them rather than paying a license fee. While individuals may purchase downloads from Au-dible.com and other companies, the license agreement assumes that the downloading is being done for one listener. The proposed activity is equivalent to buying one copy of a printed book and then making photocopies of it to lend rather than purchasing multiple copies. It may be possible to obtain a multiple listener license from these companies, which the library should do if it intends to substitute downloads for purchasing books on CD.

A librarian teaches various levels of web page development for students and faculty. Students are very interested in downloading materials from the Internet such as photographs of works of art, incorporating sound from CDs, and the like. There is software that permits them to do this. If they cite the source, are there still copyright concerns?

When students are creating a presentation for classroom use, it well may be fair use for them to incorporate material from Internet websites, clips of musical recordings, and the like. Further, section 110(1) of the Copyright Act permits the performance of nondramatic literary and musical works and the display of any work in face-to-face teaching by either students or faculty in a classroom in a nonprofit educational institution. One could certainly argue that reproducing the work to incorporate it into a web presentation for classroom use is a fair use. If the slides created by students for class projects are to be put into course management software or on a password-protected web page, section 110(2) for online performances and displays in nonprofit educational institutions applies. There are numerous conditions that have to be met to permit the use of copyrighted works under this section, however.

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?

In order to evaluate this situation, one must know what the license agreement specifies about use of material from the database. It may permit this use if the faculty member password protects his website so that only students in his class have access to the downloaded material. On the other hand, the license may be a personal license and may not permit any further electronic distribution. If this is the case, and the faculty member is using a library-licensed database, he should simply include a link to the articles on his web page. Students would have access to the same database if they are enrolled students in the academic institution. Further, there may be educational reasons to require students to follow a link rather than providing them with a digital copy.

As faculty members create course web pages, many questions arise about whether putting certain materials on a web page constitutes copyright infringement. When faculty authors put copies of their own journal articles on a web page, is that a problem? Does it make a difference if the web page is password protected?

If the faculty author transferred the copyright in the articles to the publisher in order to have them published, he is infringing when reproducing them for a web page that also enables others to reproduce them by printing or downloading. It is always difficult to explain to faculty authors that if they transferred the copyright to the article, then they have no greater rights to the article than would a stranger. Sometimes publishers will give faculty authors permission to put articles on a course web page if the page is password protected for the class, or the publisher's permission may be time sensitive. In other words, the publisher may allow the faculty author to put the article on the course web page but only six to twelve months after the article appears in the journal. Even if these conditions do not exist, the faculty author may still be able to put the article on a course web page or in course management software following the Guidelines on Multiple Copying for Classroom Use (Classroom Guidelines). (See Chapter 2, "Copies for Users"). This would require password protection as well as meeting the brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effects tests. The faculty author could also evaluate the posting under the fair use factors.

 
<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics