Select this to enable text only view - Appropriate Use of Copyright Material

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Approved: 8/8/2013
Approved By: President's Staff
Section: 01 - GENERAL
Policy: 007 - Copyright

The Community College of Beaver County is committed to abiding by copyright law and ensuring the proper use of authors’ or creators’ works. The College permits copying only if it is permitted by copyright law, fair use guidelines, license agreements, or proprietor consent.


Copyright Law

The Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17 U.S. Code) grants authors, publishers, and creators control over the copying, distribution, and performance of their original works. The copyright law grants owners the sole right to allow others to reproduce all or part of their work, distribute copies of their work, prepare new versions of an original work, and to perform or display the work publically. Copyright law covers seven broad categories:

  1. Literary works: fiction and nonfiction, including books, blogs, cartoons, periodicals, manuscripts, computer programs, manuals, audio recordings, film, and computer disks;
  2. Musical works: songs, opera, musical plays, and accompanying words;
  3. Dramatic works: plays, screenplays including musicals, and dramatic readings;
  4. Pantomimed and choreographed works: dance and mime performances;
  5. Pictorial, graphics, and sculptured works: three-dimensional artworks and creations, photographs, prints, art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, drawings, diagrams, models;
  6. Motion pictures and audiovisual works: tapes, slides, film, video, multimedia presentations;
  7. Sound recordings: records, cassettes, computer disks, tapes, podcasts, or other media.

Copyright protection covers both published and unpublished works. The full text of the Copyright Law of 1976 can be read at   A printed version will be placed at the following locations on campus: Library Circulation Desk; Copy Center; Aviation Sciences Center Resource Room.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

This act, enacted in 1998, amended the Copyright Law to address the illegal copying of copyrighted materials in digital format. Under the DMCA, the College is considered a “service provider,” i.e. provides network services; therefore, DMCA provides a “safe harbor” against institutional liability if certain procedures are complied with. These procedures are documented in College Procedure, Digital Millennium Copyright Act.


  1. Poetry: (a)A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages, or (b) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words;
  2. Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a  minimum of 500 words;
  3. Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue;
  4. “Special” Works: Certain works in poetry, prose, or in “poetic prose” which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience and which falls short of 2500 words in their entirety. However, an excerpt containing not more than 10% of the words found in the text thereof may be reproduced.


  1. The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher; and
  2. The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to request for permission.

Cumulative effect

  1. The copying of materials is for only one course in which the copies are made;
  2. Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay, or two excerpts may be copied from the same author; not more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.

A copyrighted work may be used or copied under certain conditions:

  1. Fair use: use is for educational purposes, with certain restrictions
  2. Public domain: works belonging to the public as a whole, such as government documents, works with an expired copyright, and works published over 75 years ago
  3. Permission: prior approval for use by the copyright owner
  4. Legal exception: use constitutes an exemption to copyright protection

Fair Use

Section 107 of the Copyright Act establishes “Fair Use” of copyrighted works in limited situations without the copyright owner’s permission in order to promote free speech and learning. Among some situations, including teaching, Section 107 establishes four basic factors in determining whether a use constitutes “Fair Use” under the law:

  1. Purpose and character of the use:  use is for specific nonprofit educational purposes, used temporarily, and not for commercial use;
  2. Nature of the work: an article from a periodical, a chapter from a book, a short story, short essay, or short poem;
  3. Proportion and extent of the material: excerpts that are short in relation to the entire work as a whole;
  4. Effect of the use upon the potential market value of the copyrighted work.

“Fair Use” may not be invoked for the following:

  1. As a substitute for purchasing books, periodicals, or publishers’ reprints;
  2. To repeatedly copy the same item from semester to semester without permission;
  3. To make a profit, such as charging students for the copied materials beyond the actual cost of the photocopy;
  4. To copy “consumable” works, such as workbooks, test booklets, and answer sheets;
  5. To copy more than one short poem, essay, article, or story from the same author, or more than three from the same collective work or volume during one semester.

Reference Appendix A “Fair Use Checklist” to assist in determining fair use of a copyrighted work. 

Photocopying Guidelines for Classroom Use

A single copy may be made of any of the following by a teacher for his/her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  1. A chapter from a book;
  2. An article from a periodical or newspaper;
  3. A short story, short essay, or poem, whether or not from a collective work;
  4. A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper;

Multiple copies, not to exceed more than one copy per pupil in a course may be made by the teacher for classroom use or discussion provided:

  1. The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined under “Definitions” above; and
  2. Meets the cumulative effect test as defined under “Definitions” above; and
  3. Each copy includes a notice of copyright.

Public Domain

Public domain is a space where copyright protection does not apply. When copyrights and patents expire, these works fall into the public domain and may be used without permission. Included in the public domain are most US government documents, current news sections of periodicals, and works such as tables, formulas, etc.  Writings with expired copyrights may be photocopied without restriction; writings published prior to January 1, 1978, and which have never been copyrighted, may be copied without restriction.  All copyrights prior to 1906 have expired and may be photocopied freely.


Only a single copy of a copyrighted article or part of a work may be made for personal use unless permission has been granted to do otherwise. When requesting the use of copyrighted materials, sending complete and accurate information to the copyright owner will expedite the process. The Association of American Publishers recommends the following information be included to facilitate requests:

  1. Title, author and/or editor, and edition of materials to be duplicated;
  2. Exact material to be used, including amount, page numbers, chapters, and a photocopy of the material;
  3. Number of copies to be made;
  4. How the duplicated materials will be used;
  5. Method of distribution (i.e. classroom, newsletter, etc.);
  6. Whether or not the material is to be sold; and
  7. Type of reprint requested (i.e. photocopy, offset, typeset).

The request should be sent with a self-addressed return envelope, to the permission department of the publisher in question. The address of the publisher should appear at the front of the material; if not, it may be obtained from the Association of American Publishers, Inc.,, or is important that you obtain permission in writing in order to define the scope of the permission.  Allow enough lead time to obtain the necessary permission before the materials are needed.  Do not ask for “blanket” permission; in most cases it will not be granted.

Reference Appendix B for additional resources for permission.

Legal Exception

Several categories of materials are generally not eligible for copyright protection, including:

  1. Works that are not presented in a tangible form of expression (i.e. choreographic works that have not been recorded, improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded);
  2. Titles, names, short slogans and familiar symbols and designs; listings of ingredients or contents;
  3. Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and contains no original authorship (i.e. standard calendars; height and weight charts; tape measures and rulers; lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources);


The penalty for copyright infringement can depend on how the suit was filed and when the infringed work was registered.  Damages can be actual or statutory, with fines ranging from $750 to $30,000 per infringement. For complete information regarding potential liabilities and penalties, see chapter 5 of U.S. Copyright Law at The College will not provide legal assistance to any individual for alleged copyright violations.

To enact the provisions of this procedure, the Manager of Learning and Library Resources, or its successor office, will ensure that Copyright warning notices will be placed at the following locations throughout campus: all copiers; all computers labs and computer classrooms; Library computer workstations, classroom, and Learning Lab. 

Warning Notice

Notice: Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17 U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this equipment for the purpose of copying is liable for any infringement.  The full text of the Copyright Law can be viewed at   Also, a printed version is available at the following locations on campus: Library Circulation Desk; Copy Center; Aviation Sciences Center Resource Room.