Understanding Copyright Law in
a For-Profit Institution
What is Legal and Allowable?
By: Eileen Rhodes, MLS, Corporate Librarian and
David R. Polgar, JD, Associate Professor at Lincoln College of New England
Quick Note
Copyright law is a complex area of the law
with a wide variety of opinions on it.
 Be careful: a great deal of info online is
either incorrect or incomplete.
 This presentation seeks to increase our
understanding of:
◦ What is Copyright and Copyright Infringement?
◦ What are some common exemptions for
◦ How do we apply copyright rules to a for-profit
institution? How does copyright law affect us?
What is Copyright?
Copyright is a protection that grants
certain exclusive rights to a creator.
Copyright infringement is when a nonowner of the copyright infringes an
exclusive right.
 Copyright constantly deals with balancing
an individuals right to protect their work
(which promotes creativity) AND the
public’s right to freely use information.
What rights does a copyright owner
A copyright owner has the exclusive
right to:
◦ Make and distribute copies
◦ Publicly perform or display
◦ Make derivative works
Our Policy:
Go to Intranet:
 Go to “Depts”
 Click on “Education”
 Click on “Policies & Procedures”
 Click on “Copyright Policy”
What is Copyright Infringement?
“Any activity that falls within the scope of
the exclusive rights of the copyright
owner is prohibited as an infringement
unless it is authorized by the copyright
owner, excused by fair use, or another
exemption.” (From our policy)
 There are many educational exemptions,
however, many of these only apply to nonprofit educational institutions.
Copyright in the Library
It is an exception to copyright law that
allows a library to make single
photocopies for patrons.
 Do not use this exception to make
unlimited copies. (This would financially
harm the copyright holder.)
 http://www.section108.gov
eHow versus Reality
Example of misleading copyright
◦ http://www.ehow.com/list_7230159_copyright
Actual language:
◦ http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/110.html
Purchasing an item does not give
you unlimited rights
Every copyright comes attached with
important limitations for the user.
 EXAMPLE: You buy a copyright-protected
music cd. As a consumer, you get the
right to listen to the music, but not the
right to duplicate it or make public
performances of it.
 Showing material in the Lincoln classroom
is considered public performance.
Public Performance
A public performance is one that occurs "in
a place open to the public or at any place
where a substantial number of persons
outside of a normal circle of a family and its
social acquaintances is gathered.“
The classroom is considered a public place
and therefore displaying copyright-protected.
For-profit colleges DO NOT have an
exemption for face-to-face teaching or
online learning that non-profit colleges do.
What does that mean for us?
Rule: In order play movies/video
clips/music in the classroom, you must
obtain the necessary public performance
rights (PPR) or obtain permission from
the copyright holder.
 Exceptions to this rule include fair use,
public domain, and open courseware
(Creative Commons). We will go over
these later.
Getting Site License for
DVDs/Videos (Public Performance
If you want to show a copyrighted film in the
classroom, you need to contact one of these
companies to obtain permission/site license.
Begin with Swank.
 Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. 1-800-876-5577
 Criterion Pictures, USA 1-800-890-9494
 Kino International 1-800-562-3330
 The Motion Picture Licensing Corporation
 Movie Licensing USA
 New Yorker Films 1-800-247-6200
DVD Companies
Films Media Group
Insight Media-Medical videos
Media Education Foundation
Kantola Productions
Ambrose Video:
The Learning Seed
Action! Library Media
Video Education American
Infobase Learning
The Video Project
Authorized by the Copyright
If you can get written permission from
the Copyright owner, you can use it.
 Have your instructors check their
textbooks for information on obtaining
permission to make copies.
What if you don’t have permission?
(PPR or direction authorization)
You would rely on either:
◦ Fair use
◦ Public domain
◦ Open courseware (MIT and Stanford)
What is Fair Use?
Fair Use is a principle that allows the
public to use copyrighted work without
permission if it is for:
Teaching Criticism Scholarship Research
Parody Comment
 http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
Four Factors for Fair Use
In deciding whether a user can claim fair use,
the courts look at four factors:
1. The purpose and character of the use, including
whether such use is of 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 copyrighted work as a
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market
for, or value of, the copyrighted work
Public Domain
Works in which the copyright has expired,
or there is no copyright.
 For example, when using images, you can
find websites for using public domain
 http://www.public-domain-image.com/
Open CourseWare
There is currently a movement to freely
license and share information without
copyright concerns.
 “OpenCourseWare are free and openly
licensed, accessible to anyone, anytime via
the internet”
 http://www.ocwconsortium.org/
Creative Commons
New concept
 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/bync-nd/3.0/
 YouTube license versus Creative
Scenario One:
An instructor uses the copier at a Lincoln
campus to make copies of a textbook that
he has not adopted for his course.
 These copies will be passed out in class
for the students to review.
 He claims he needs more content for the
course, and since he is using it for
educational purposes it’s legal.
Scenario One Continued…
Is this allowable?
 This instructor is breaking copyright law
by making multiple copies and distributing
to his class.
 This is not allowed because
◦ No exception to copyright law
◦ Does not meet Fair Use
◦ Since the textbook has a copyright, it is not in
the public domain.
Scenario Two:
An instructor borrows a DVD from the
campus library/LRC, and shows the entire
film in class.
 Is this legal?
Scenario Two Continued…
It could be legal, but only if the DVD has
“Public Performance Rights.”
 In this case, the back of the DVD states
“This copyrighted product has been
manufactured and distributed by Warner
Home Video, Inc., and is authorized for sale
or rental for private home use ONLY.”
 Two solutions to this problem:
◦ Obtain a site license for the film, or
◦ Tell students they are responsible for renting and
viewing the film on their own.
What Can I Use?
Instructors can use InfoTrac if they want
to make copies of articles from
encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines, etc.
 Lincoln has paid for site licensing for the
use of InfoTrac content.
 This is safer than going to the web.
Helpful Sites:
 http://www.copyrightlaws.com/
 http://www.ocwconsortium.org/
 http://www.public-domain-image.com/
 http://www.section108.gov
 http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf
The purpose of copyright law is to spread
 It’s a balance between the creation of
knowledge and the dissemination of

Copyright for the For