Created by Royce Kimmons, Brigham Young University. Repurposed using standard YouTube license. No permission necessary.
When considering incorporating any content into online instruction, ask yourself the following questions.
The purpose of copyright, as articulated in the United States Constitution, is "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” This principle forms the fundamental basis on which U.S. Copyright Law stands. Copyright grants to the author or originator the sole and exclusive privilege of creating multiple copies of literary or artistic productions and publishing and selling them. Copyright protection exists for original works fixed in any tangible medium of expression, including:
Section 106 in Chapter 1 of the U.S. copyright law (17 U.S.C. §106) lists the six exclusive rights copyright owners have regarding their work. However, the next sixteen sections of Chapter 1 in the law set forth many exceptions and limitations on those rights. Four of these exceptions are commonly at play in education:
Copyright protection arises automatically the moment an original work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. It does not need to be registered, published, or have a copyright notice on it. Copyright has expired for works published in the US before 1923 and, therefore, they are in the public domain. For other works that may have entered the public domain, see Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States.
When considering incorporating any content into online instruction, it may help to identify the type of material being used. You may already have the right to use it!
If the work in question is protected by copyright and is not subject to fair use or other legal exemptions, then you will need to seek permission from the copyright holder in order to make the reproduction or otherwise exercise one of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner. Whenever you are uncertain whether statutory exceptions apply to your specific situation you should either seek permission, or seek the advice of counsel before you proceed with a proposed use.
Sources to Consult When Seeking Copyright Owners