A1100.20 Copying Copyrighted Materials

Operating Standard

Type: Administrative
Related Policies: A1100
Linked Procedures:
Related Laws:
Related Standards:
HLC Criterion:



Shawnee Community College supports the appropriate use of copyrighted materials, in compliance with the provisions of the copyright law of the United States, as given in Title 17, United States Code. To encourage appropriate use, Shawnee Community College shares information with faculty, staff, and students about copyright. A page on the library website is maintained with current online tools to provide information and to guide users in determining proper use of materials. All materials used in instruction must be lawfully obtained copies.

Title 17 § 106, guarantees specific rights to the owner of a copyrighted work. The author has the exclusive right:

1. to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
2. to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
3. to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
4. in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
5. in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
6. in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.” [17 U.S. code § 106 – Exclusive Rights in Copyrighted Works.]

Works are copyrighted automatically when they are created in a form that is tangible; that is, can be seen or heard. Except for works in the public domain or that are offered with explicit permission for use, such as with items issued under a Creative Commons license, all works should be considered copyright protected. For purposes of scholarship and similar activity, § 107 of Title 17 lists four key exceptions to the exclusive rights of copyright owners. Those four factors, the fair use factors, should be used to guide decisions on what may be used and to what degree. That section states:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include –
1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a 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; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors” [17 U.S. Code § 107 – Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use.]

Rather than following stated guidelines that indicate an allowance for specific amounts of material to be used, instructors at Shawnee Community College are encouraged to evaluate all potential uses in reference to the four fair use factors, considering the exclusive rights of the author as well as the use of the item. Links on the Shawnee Community College library web page lead to tools that assist in evaluating fair use.

Section 110 of the copyright law allows performance or display of copyrighted dramatic works in face-to-face classrooms. Sections 110(2) and 112(f), referred to as the TEACH Act, allow instructors to transmit dramatic works to distance learning students. In brief, in either circumstance, the showing of the dramatic works must be relevant to the class purpose, not recreational, and access must be limited to students in that class. For distance learning uses, technological measures must be in place to prevent the material from being shared outside of the class. Intended uses should be compared to the law to determine appropriateness.

Many online materials indicate how the content may or may not be used. Many websites offer permission to use the content, under certain restrictions. This is often discussed under a Terms of Use link on the website home page. This should be consulted before using content or posting links. Web recourses produced under a Creative Commons license are made publicly available for use under the terms of the license; the instructor should consult the license before using the materials. Material on the web is protected by copyright regardless of whether or not a copyright statement is present, and users should abide by terms of use, license agreements, or written permission. With many electronic library materials, including licensed database content, hyperlinks provide the best way to share the material with students.

If a use does not fall under one or more of the fair use factors or another exemption, permission should be sought. To obtain permission, the copyright owner should be contacted. Most contact is through the publisher’s website. Many publishers have permission forms on their websites. The Copyright Clearance Center can also assist with permissions.

If a letter or email is sent, it should include the following information: title, author and/or editor, and edition of print materials to be duplicated, or web address of websites; exact material to be used, giving amount, page numbers, chapters, and if possible number of copies to be made, or in the case of online materials, the URL and section name of specific web pages; use to be made of the duplicated materials; form of distribution (printed handouts, posted in online course, etc.); and any commercial use of the material.

For purposes of proof, and to define the scope of the permission, printed copies of the permission should be kept, whether letters or emails that are printed out. Instructors are encouraged to contact the Shawnee Community College library staff for assistance with determining fair use qualifications or for obtaining permission to use materials.

Revised: August 2015, July 2016



Since there is no specific copyright law or exception covering the question of taping of broadcasts off the air and showing these works in the classroom, the Learning Resource Center is authorized to apply the general rights as contained in Section 106 of the Copyright Law, and the general “fair use exception” contained in Section 107. The Supreme Court has ruled on home use of such rebroadcasts, which the court has defined as “time-shifting”. It appears from the majority in case, that time-shifting by the taping and rebroadcast for classroom purposes of off-the-air presentations would be acceptable to the Supreme Court. It is further strengthened by guidelines which are submitted by the negotiating committee set up by the Sub-Committee on Courts, Civil Liberties and Administration of Justice, Committee on the Judiciary, U. S. House of Representatives. This negotiating committee  included copyright experts from media, education, and library associations. These guidelines which do not have the effect of law, do allow for recording of off-air broadcasts and their re-showing in non-profit educational institutions for evaluation purposes within 45 calendar days of the initial presentation. These guidelines restrict the use of these programs in the classroom or other instructional areas to the first ten (10) consecutive school days in the forty-five (45) calendar day retention period. The College will use these guidelines regarding all issues of off-the-air taping and its use in the classroom.



Streaming and other video media are leased or purchased and are obtained through independent and/or group negotiations with the producing companies or their representatives. Broadcast, cable, and audio visual rights are negotiated separately. That may restrict the use of these programs. Regular classroom use is not permitted if the audio visual rights have not been negotiated.

Revised: August 2015, July 2016


Change Log
Date Description of Change Governance Unit