Additional Steps to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 20 - April 14 campus will be closed to all students/visitors, and all events are canceled. Spring quarter will run April 20 - June 18, and instruction will be delivered online as much as possible. - Learn More.

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

This page is intended to provide general information and resources regarding current copyright practices.

Copyright Flow Chart

Copyright Basics

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. See detailed information at Copyright Basics (12-page PDF document by the U.S. Copyright Office)

Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

Whether intentional or not, copyright infringement is theft of Intellectual property and carries significant legal consequences for both individuals and the institutions for which they work. It occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or is incorporated into another (derivative) work without the permission of the copyright owner.

Permission to use protected material can be retained through a simple six-step process.

  1. Determine whether permission is needed to use an item.
  2. Identify who owns the protected material.
  3. Define the specific rights to be requested.
  4. Contact the owner.
  5. Due diligence: actions which must be taken if the copyright owner cannot be located
  6. Receive written permission.

If a work is protected by copyright, it may still be possible to legally use it. Permission can be granted by the copyright owner in the form of a license or release. Excellent resources to determine this are the Copyright Clearance Center and the United States Copyright Office.

Additional Information for Students

Photocopying small amounts of course materials by students is typically considered fair use. A single photocopy 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 without permission. Photocopying all the assignments from a book recommended for purchase by the instructor, making multiple copies of articles or book chapters for distribution to classmates, or copying material from consumable workbooks, all require permission.

Additional Information for Faculty

The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published and the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first.

The doctrine of fair use (Section 107 of the copyright law) contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

  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 whole.
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.

If all of the statements below are true, this may be considered Fair Use

  • The use is non-profit.
  • The material used is non-fiction and has been previously published.
  • A minimal amount of the original was used, and does not include the heart of the work.
  • Use of the work does not impact the market value of the original.

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act (2002) facilitates and enables the performance and display of copyrighted materials for distance education by accredited, non-profit educational institutions. Its primary purpose is to balance the needs of distance learners and educators with the rights of copyright holders. 

If all of the statements below are true, use may be considered within the guidelines of the Teach Act of 2001.

  • The content is available to only currently enrolled students, and only for the duration of the course.
  • Copyright laws have been made available to students, staff, and faculty.
  • Copying and redistribution of the material is prevented.
  • Copyright prevention mechanisms have not been tampered with.

LCC is a nonprofit institution engaged in instruction, research, or scholarly activities for educational purposes. Educational fair use guidelines apply to material used in such institutions. 

Educational purposes

  • Noncommercial instruction or curriculum-based teaching by educators to students at nonprofit educational institutions. 
  • Planned noncommercial study or investigation directed toward making a contribution to a field of knowledge.
  • Workshops, or seminars.

The public domain is not a place. A work of authorship is in the public domain if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.

Rules for Reproducing Text Materials for Use in Class

  • The guidelines permit a teacher to make one copy of any of the following: a chapter from a book; an article from a periodical or newspaper; a short story, short essay, or short poem; a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.
  • Teachers may photocopy articles to hand out in class, but classroom copying cannot be used to replace texts or workbooks. Pupils cannot be charged more than the actual cost of photocopying. The number of copies cannot exceed more than one copy per pupil, and a notice of copyright must be affixed to each copy.General Rule: Copies and their actual classroom use must be so close together in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a permission request. For example, if an instructor finds a news article on capital punishment two days before presenting a lecture on the subject, it is permissible to use it: if the instructor wants to continue using the article during future terms however, copyright permission must be requested.
    • EXAMPLE: The materials on this course website are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.
  • Teachers may not photocopy workbooks, texts, standardized tests, or other materials that were created for educational use.

Use our Permission Form for Copyrights template when requesting permission for copyright.

The guidelines were not intended to allow teachers to usurp the profits of educational publishers. In other words, educational publishers do not consider it a fair use if the copying provides replacements or substitutes for the purchase of books, reprints, periodicals, tests, workbooks, anthologies, compilations, or collective works.

Contact the Library/Learning Commons

 Learning Commons Fall Hours

  • Monday - Thursday: 7:30am - 7:00pm
  • Friday: 7:30am - 4:00pm
  • Saturday: 10:00am - 2:00pm
  • Sunday: Closed

Join us on Social Media

Copyright 2018 Lower Columbia College | All Rights Reserved.