Skip to main content

How do I...

Copyright, Fair Use and Creative Commons

"The Congress shall have power ... To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exlusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." -- United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8

What does Copyright protect?

Copyright provides authors fairly substantial control over their work. The four basic protections are:

- The right to make copies of the work.
- The right to sell or otherwise distribute copies of the work.

- The right to prepare new works based on the protected work.

- The right to perform the protected work in public (such as a stage play or painting).

Using somebody else's work?

How do I know I am being fair to the creator, legally and ethically?

The more you use, the less likely it will be considered fair use.

Does the amount you use exceed a reasonable expectation? If it approaches 50% of the entire work, it is likely to be considered an unfair use of the copyrighted work.

Is the new work merely a copy of the original? If it is simply a copy, it is not as likely to be considered fair use.

Is the particular portion used likely to adversely affect the creator's economic gain?

If you use the "heart" or "essence" of a work, it is less likely your use will be considered fair.

Thanks to Information and Library Services at University of Maryland University College for the permission to use the information presented on their Web site.

University of Maryland University College, Information and Library Services. "Copyright and Fair Use in the UMUC Online or Face-to-Face Classroom." Accessed May 5 2016. http://www.umuc.edu/library/libhow/copyright.cfm.

Want to let people share and use your photographs, but not allow companies to sell them?

Looking for access to course materials from the world’s top universities?

Want to encourage readers to re-publish your blog posts, as long as they give you credit?

Looking for songs that you can use and remix, royalty-free?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you should learn more about Creative Commons.  Watch this short video:

Wanna Work Together? from Creative Commons on Vimeo.

Create your own Creative Commons License!

Search Creative Commons

The need to copy should occur closely in time to the need to use the copies.

One semester - It is likely to be seen as fair use.

Using repeatedly - less likely to be fair use.

What can be copied?

A chapter from a book (never the entire book).

An article from a periodical or newspaper.

A short story, essay, or poem. One work is the norm - from an individual work or an anthology.

A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.

Poetry: Multiple copies of a poem of 250 words or less that exist on two pages or less or a 250 word excerpt.

Prose: Multiple copies of an article, story or essay that are 2,500 words or less or excerpts up to 1,000 words or 10% of the total work, whichever is less.

Illustrations: Multiple copies of a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture contained in a book or periodical issue.

What should be avoided?

Making multiple copies of different works that could substitute for the purchase of books, publisher's reprints, or periodicals.

Copying the same works from semester to semester.

Copying the same material for several different courses at the same or different institutions.

Copying more than nine separate times in a single semester.

When is permission required?

When you intend to use the materials for commercial purposes.

When you want to use the materials repeatedly.

When you want to use a work in its entirety and it is longer than 2,500 words.

Using something over a period of years is not within the spirit of the guidelines.

Thanks to Information and Library Services at University of Maryland University College for the permission to use the information presented on their Web site.

University of Maryland University College, Information and Library Services. "Copyright and Fair Use in the UMUC Online or Face-to-Face Classroom." Accessed May 5 2016. http://www.umuc.edu/library/libhow/copyright.cfm.

What you can do!

What you can do without having secured prior permission :

Emergency copying to replace purchased copies which for any reason are not available for an imminent performance provided purchased replacement copies shall be substituted in due course.

For academic purposes other than performance, multiple copies of excerpts of works may be made, provided that the excerpts do not comprise a part of the whole which would constitute a performable unit such as a section, movement or aria but in no case more than 10% of the whole work, The number of copies shall not exceed one copy per pupil.

Printed copies which have been purchased may be edited OR simplified provided that the fundamental character of the work is not distorted or the lyrics, if any, altered or lyrics added if none exist.

A single copy of recordings of performance by students may be made for evaluation or rehearsal purposes and may be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher.

A single copy of a sound recording (such as a tape, disc or cassette) of copyrighted music may be made from sound recordings owned by an educational institution or an individual teacher for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations and may be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher. (This pertains only to the copyright of the music itself and not to any copyright which may exist in the sound recording.)

What you must not do!

The following are expressly prohibited:

Copying to avoid purchase.

Copying music for any kind of performance (note emergency exception on page 7).

Copying without including copyright notice, Copying to create anthologies or compilations.

Reproducing material designed to be consumable such as workbooks, standardized tests and answer sheets.

Charging students beyond the actual cost involved in making copies as permitted.

Copyright ultimately means that no one but the copyright owner has the right to copy without permission.

Retail Print Music Dealers Association. "The United States Copyright Law." Accessed May 5, 2016. http://printmusic.org/copyright-info/.

 

Music Copying FAQ

I've already purchased one copy. Can't I make a copy for my accompanist?
Accompanists must have original music from which to play. Copying a single page to alleviate a difficult page turn can be justified, but copying the entire work is copyright infringement.
National Association for Music Education. "Copyright." Accessed May 5, 2016. http://www.nafme.org/my-classroom/copyright/#faqs.

 

During juries and/or recitals, if a student has the original and the faculty wants to follow along with the music for assessment and grading purposes, may copies be made?
Copying may be permissible, but ONLY if permission is granted by the copyright holders. Write to the publisher and explain your situation. Make sure to get the permission in writing. And remember, unauthorized photocopies are copyright infringements.
National Association for Music Education. "Copyright." Accessed May 5, 2016. http://www.nafme.org/my-classroom/copyright/#faqs.


May I make copies of existing recordings?

It is expressly prohibited to make copies of recordings of a copyrighted work without permission of the copyright owner of both the musical composition and the recording. Please ask... publishers may be willing to work with you on licensing fees.
Music Publishers Association. "Copyright FAQ." Accessed May 5, 2016. http://www.mpa.org/content/copyright-faq.

Student Guidelines:

OK when producing a project for a specific course.

OK to perform and display own projects, use them in a portfolio, for job interviews or for application to school.

Faculty Guidelines:

OK when producing own multimedia project for teaching in support of curriculum-based instructional activities at educational institutions.

OK to use project for assignments for student self-study, remote instruction, conferences, presentations, or workshops and their professional portfolio.

Time Restrictions:

Fair use of copyrighted material in multimedia projects lasts for two years only. After two years, obtain permission before using the project again.

Types of media and permissible amounts:

Motion media: 10% of the total or 3 minutes, whichever is less.

Text material: 10% of the total or 1,000 words, whichever is less.

An entire poem of less than 250 words. Poems exceeding 250 words, 250 words should be used. No more than 3 poems/excerpts from one poet or 5 poems/excerpts from difference poets in the same work.

Music, lyrics, and music video: 10% of the work but no more than 30 seconds.

Illustrations/photographs: no more than 5 images from 1 artist, no more than 10% or 15 miages, whichever is less, from a collection.

Numerical data sets: 10% or 2,500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less, from database/data table.

Copying of a multimedia project: no more tha 2 copies may be made of a project.

When should you get permission?

Use of the project for commercial/non-educational purposes.

Duplicating the project beyond the two copies allowed by the guidelines.

Distribute the project beyond the scope of the guidelines.

 Thanks to Information and Library Services at University of Maryland University College for the permission to use the information presented on their Web site.

University of Maryland University College, Information and Library Services. "Copyright and Fair Use in the UMUC Online or Face-to-Face Classroom." Accessed May 5 2016. http://www.umuc.edu/library/libhow/copyright.cfm.

Loading