The Los Rios Community College District requires faculty, staff and administrators to obey federal copyright law. There are also protections for LRCCD employees who create work while employed by the district. Guidance is provided in Board Regulation R-8333 (PDF).
Copyright allows authors or creators of original work to control the use of that work. These legal protections are automatic as soon as the work is fixed in a tangible form (in a blog, computer program, on paper, video recording, etc.). A © symbol is not required for copyright protections to be in place. It is illegal to copy, scan, distribute, perform or display copyrighted material without the copyright holder’s permission unless:
Section 107 of the Copyright Act allows for copying and other uses of copyrighted work without permission from the original author or creator under certain conditions, including teaching and research. In order to establish fair use, the user must consider four factors:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether it is for commercial or nonprofit educational purposes
- The nature of the copyrighted material
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the whole
- The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted material
The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (aka TEACH Act) was passed in 2002 and is contained in Section 110(2) of the Copyright Act. It provides guidelines for delivering digital content in electronic environments such as Canvas. The TEACH Act provides greater flexibility to nonprofit educational institutions to share electronic content for educational purposes. However, there are still considerable differences between what is allowed in a face-to-face teaching environment and what is allowed through distance education.
The TEACH Act has certain provisions including the requirement that instructors provide notice to students when using digital copies of copyrighted material in connection with a course. The following is sample language that could be included on the document or posted in Canvas:
“The materials displayed in this course are copyrighted. All rights are reserved. The materials may only be used by students and faculty registered in the class and only for educational purposes. They cannot be copied or disseminated for any other purpose.”
Can I digitize an entire DVD to show to my online class? Answer from Duke University’s Scholarly Communications Officer, Kevin Smith, J.D., MLIS
- California State University Stanislaus’ TEACH Act Instructional Scenarios
Copyright Crash Course on Fair Use from the University of Texas
- Copyright Crash Course on the TEACH Act from the University of Texas
- TEACH Act checklist from the University of Texas
- Scholarly Communications Blog from Duke University
- Instructional Design & Development resources for online courses from California State University Stanislaus
- Copyright Clearance Center to obtain (usually for a fee) rights to share content with students
- Creative Commons search engine for web-based material to use in instruction
- Public Domain calculator from the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy
- U.S. Copyright Law (full text)
Disclaimer: This page is presented for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for professional legal advice.