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Copyright and Fair Use: Copyright & You


1)  It's the law.

2)  Information ethics are not situational.

3)  We lead by example for our students and colleagues.

4)  It's the right thing to do.

Creative Commons Copyright

Creative Commons License
Copyright and Fair Use for Faculty by Tracey Mayfield and Cathy Outten is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Interested in copyrighting your own work under Creative Commons? Go to their site.

Olympic College Policies

Olympic College's Copyright Policy informs students, faculty and staff about their rights and privileges in using copyright-restricted material, including the limited exclusive rights of copyright holders.

Olympic College's Intellectual Property Policy for Non-Academic Employees defines intellectual property rights parallel to those defined for academic employees in the collective bargaining agreement between the College and the Olympic College Association for Higher Education.


Fair Use & COVID 19

Fair use (17 U.S.C. § 107) lists the four factors that must be considered when copying portions of a work to upload on a learning management system:

  • the purpose and character of the use;
  • the nature of the work;
  • the amount and substantiality of the work; and
  • the effect on the potential market. 

There is a viable argument that because of the current emergency situation, more weight should be given than one normally would to the first factor: the purpose and character of the use.* However, this extra weight only applies to courses impacted by the pandemic (e.g. previously face to face courses having to move urgently online). The sudden conversion of classes and the lack of access to resource material is what supports the argument for greater access to portions of copyrighted works.

Even under these conditions, we’d need to take the following steps:

  • practice due diligence by first contacting the publishers to try and obtain permission or licenses for using large portions of copyrighted works.
  • provide access to the copyrighted work in a password-protected environment. 
    • Even under this condition, post a disclaimer that the works are only being provided in greater amounts due to the emergency created by COVID-19 pandemic and that students should destroy the excerpts once the class is concluded.

Another option (17 U.S.C. § 108. Reproduction by Libraries and Archives) is to make portions of textbooks digitally available for check-out through the e-reserve process. We would need to restrict the amount and duration available for check-out, but Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries advocates that fair use for libraries includes digitizing hardbound textbooks, so that the digital copy can be lent in lieu of the original.**

So, practically speaking, use other materials if possible, but if you need to digitize a hard copy resource, if at all possible contact the publisher to request permission, and connect with the library as soon as possible so that we may assist you in a timely way.

*"Yes, you can scan that reserve textbook" webinar and; Public Statement of Library Copyright Specialists: Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research 

**Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries

Copyright on Campus Video by Copyright Clearance Center


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