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I teach American literature in the English department. I would like to post PDFs of selected short stories and poems on my course website so that my students don’t have to buy a huge anthology, 80% of which we would not be using. Because I teach early American literature, all of my texts were published before 1865 and thus (as far as I understand) are no longer under copyright. However, if I use photocopies or scans of a currently published version of these pre-1865 texts to create the PDFs, then there will be explanatory footnotes added by contemporary editors along with the literary texts. Does the inclusion of the footnotes put me in violation of copyright laws? That is to say, are the footnotes copyrighted, even though the texts themselves are no longer protected?


In a group presentation for your class, your students edit scenes from a Hollywood movie into their PowerPoint presentation. The movie was purchased at a local video store. They did not seek or receive any permissions to show the movie.
When they purchased the DVD they provided legal consideration in a contract to only use the product for personal and not educational use. They violated copyright law in three ways. The purchase contract precludes editing, copying onto PowerPoint, and displaying the intellectual property in an educational setting. While the producers would have a difficult time establishing a tort or harm, the above also violates Federal criminal laws designed to protect the movie industry.


You buy a copy of Alice in Wonderland from an e-book store. You enjoyed it so much you wanted to email a copy to all your friends. The book was written in the 1800’s and is in the public domain but your copy states a 1985 copyright.
The answer is no you can’t email your copy to all your friends, while the story is old the publication is new and their copyright is valid. However, you can find many versions of this book that aren’t protected by copyright and you are free to download and share these.
In research for this, I emailed several e-book stores and I received a very informative response from


Question: I used a lot of different sources and put them together in a paper. Since I wrote the paper and found all the sources and didn’t copy all of it from one source is it still plagiarism?
Answer: Yes. Even cobbled together information is still plagiarism if you don’t cite the source.

Scenario: To save us all money, our professor scanned several chapters from an expensive textbook for her course and uploads them vial webCT/vista site for us students to read. This is the only material that we needed from this particular textbook to complete class assignments is this use fair?
Response: This is not a fair use. A “four factor analysis” of this act would reasonably conclude that the market is already affected by this activity. The students who expected to buy the book no longer need to so the publisher’s sales decrease. A better approach for the teacher is to place an acquired copy of the textbook on reserve in the library, or simply require the students to purchase the book from the bookstore.


As a teacher in an elementary classroom, I want to use an entire article from a recent National Geographic in a lesson on the environment. Is it ok to just make the photocopy/ies and use it in class, or do I need to get permission?
Answer: Yes, maybe, and yes.
As an instructor, I am able to make a single copy of the article without violating fair use.
If in the lesson I will be using the article, (or cutting it into sections for the students to examine in groups and then share the information with the class,) but not giving full copies to the students, then there should be no problem in copying it.
I can also make sufficient copies of just a portion of the article for each student if I am not exceeding about 10% of the total article. A single page or two would usually be no problem.
If I will be giving each student a full copy to use during the lesson, but not to keep, I might still be okay, particularly if there wasn’t time to obtain permission. The copies will need to be destroyed afterwards.
However, if it is my intent to make and keep sufficient complete copies for use each year in the curriculum, then I need to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

I own an older edition of a text that provides some great writing samples and rhetorical strategies, but with the edition being out-of-print and the library not owning a copy, can I post material for my students on electronic reserve?
Answer: In posting from an out-of-print text, I can use electronic reserve. I am careful to use only what I need from the text and to use electronic reserve so that access is limited to my students. Because the text is out-of-print, I can use the material for future classes as well.

A Professor came to me asking me to buy a copy of a TV program that is currently being aired. That program isn’t available for purchase but is still being aired on Public Television. What can the professor do besides wait till they make the video available for purchase?
They can copy the show when it airs next on Public Television. Then they have to, by copyright law, use their off-air recording during the first ten days after the recording is made and they can retain the recording for 45 days after which they must destroy the recording. The off-air recording may not be altered in any way but they also don’t have to use it in its entirety. They must the copyright notice on the broadcast program as recorded and they may only record a broadcast once though they may repeat use of the off-air broadcast once during the 45 day limitation in the course of relevant teaching activities. Broadcasts must be available of freely transmitted television stations for reception by the general public without charge (i.e. not on pay-per-view).


A professor scans material from books, journals, and other types of sources and creates PDF’s of these. Then puts them on UVSC’s Black board Vista (class website only available to class students) for the students to read. Does the professor need permission?


I needed to make multiple copies of 2-3 chapters of a book that directs my students on how to use a software system while the students are in a computer lab. 1. Dept. Chair accused me of abusing copyright. 2. Students would not have bought the book. 3. Provided students with computer directions while they were in the lab.


I create slideshows with humor for presentations to students and faculty. For example: [Disperate ?] PowerPoints (w/pics and ran the TV show and theme song) Photoshop Goes Wild (for presentation in Miami Summer of Sequels (w/pics from all the sequels this summer.) I think this is legal cause it’s in an educational environment… but is it really????


My students can buy a “My Math Lab” access kit for MAT 0950, 0990, 1010, etc. It comes with access to an e-book. Is it legal for them to make copies of the ebook? I don’t want to require them to buy a textbook if it is not necessary.

Scenario 1: A professor wants to include photographs or music in a PowerPoint presentation for his class lecture. Does he or she need to seek permission from the copyright owners? Would it be possible if he or she wants to make some changes to those photographs or music files?
Response: Because the use of works occurs in the face-to-face classroom, the professor does not need to get permission to use the copyrighted photographs and music files. Displaying or performing copyrighted works for classroom purposes is allowed under section 110 of U.S. Copyright Law.
In addition, changes made to enhance his or her instructional purpose, e.g. commentary, criticism, even parody, are activities allowed under the fair use provision.

· fair use: for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research (patent, trademark and copyright laws, 2001, pp301)
Scenario 2: When an instructor copies the papers submitted by the students in his/her class and brings them to the Libraries to place on reserve, does he/she need permission from each student to copy their paper and share it with others?
Response: Definitely yes! The students’ papers are copyrighted and each of the students will own the copyright to their papers. The instructor will need permission from each student to copy the papers. He or She should get the permissions before bringing the papers to the Libraries.
Besides, if an instructor gets permission to copy a student authored work for use in Libraries reserves, he or she would need new permission to use the work again during any subsequent academic term.
Scenario 3: I have made my own webpage with many audiovisual works, especially some of which 4were posted in my personal homepage. When someone tried to execute and display the files of my audiovisual work in his or her homepage by using “embed src” tag or by linking without permission from me, does he or she infringe copyright law?
Response: For infringement of copying, it looks that he or she didn’t make any copied works of yours but those were made from your server, so it is hard to say you are infringed by copyright law.
However, if he or she ever allow the work of yours to be displayed directly in his or her homepage by using “embed src” tag or linking, it may be regarded as a case of infringement of copyright law.


Scenario: you just bought Linkin Park’s new CD Minutest to Midnight. You took it home and imported your CD to iTunes. After importing the music to your music library, you transferred the songs to your iPod. After realizing that you will not need the actual CD for further use, you decide to sell the CD on and keep the imported songs on your computer and iPod. Is it legal to keep the imported material on your computer and/or storage devices if you sell the original copy?
Answer: “Any copy made for archival purposes is either destroyed, or transferred with the original copy, once the original copy is sold, given away, or otherwise transferred.”
-information taken from


A campus club wants to show a DVD owned by an advisor of the club during a club meeting: One is it legal to show the DVD at the club meeting? Second can they charge $0.50 as a club fund raising effort? Are non-profit club fundraising efforts a violation of the fair-use of a purchased commercial DVD?

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