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Copyright at Carroll Community College

This guide will provide information on the College's copyright policy, procedures, and links to additional information.

Carroll Community College - Copyright Compliance Statement

Carroll Community College recognizes and supports the full enforcement of copyright laws for the protection of intellectual property rights.  All College faculty, staff, and students are expected to comply with federal laws regarding the use of copyright protected materials.  As an institution of higher learning, Carroll Community College supports the fair use exemption, whereby copyrighted materials may be legally used and reproduced for the purposes of criticism, commentary, teaching, scholarship, and research as noted in the federal copyright law (17 U.S.C. 107).

Fair Use

Fair Use as defined by the federal copyright law (17 U.S.C. 107) outlines the various purposes for which a reproduction of a particular work (in any format) may be considered "fair," such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.  Section 107 of the law sets out four factors listed below which are to be considered in determining fair use.  Generally, fair use is seen as a flexible doctrine meant to balance the promotion of innovation, progress, teaching, scholarship, and research with the copyright protections.

The courts have identified "transformative" uses as favoring fair use.  Transformative uses include secondary uses "that are innovative, add value, produce new meaning, or repurpose the original work" (Russell 40).  Educational uses are frequently determined to be transformative.

A useful framework for analyzing a copyright problem may be used if one has a question about fair use.  Contact a librarian if you need assistance with this analysis.

All four of the following factors must be considered in determining fair use. No single factor alone can be determined to be a "bright line" rule which leaves little or no room for varying interpretations.  

  • purpose and character of use - How do individuals plan to use the work that they wish to copy?  Nonprofit educational uses  may favor fair use in that they advance learning and are, thus, transformative.  The fact that a use is for nonprofit educational purposes alone carries some weight in fair use analysis. 
  • nature of the work - Is the original published?  Is it fact or fiction?  Published factual works favor fair use, however, imaginative works used within a nonprofit educational setting may also favor fair use. 
  • quantity of the work - How much of the work will be used?  This is one of the more challenging and contested aspects of fair use.  In an educational setting (i.e. often transformative) the amount of the work must be appropriate to meet the learning objectives.  In some cases, this may mean using the complete work.  In general, use no more than is needed to achieve the transformative, educational purpose. 
  • marketability of the work - Will copying the work affect the ability of the owner to make a profit?  This is another problematic test for fair use.  If the original is intended to be marketed for an educational use such as a workbook, lab manual, test bank, anthology, etc., then reproducing the original does not favor fair use.  However, if the use is transformative, otherwise unavailable (e.g. out of print), limited to enrolled students for a definite time, then this favors fair use.

Russell, Carrie.  Complete Copyright for K-12 Librarians and Educators.  Chicago:  American Library Association, 2012. Print.