Frequently Asked Questions
How do I copyright my ......?
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form.” Copyright registration is voluntary, although if you have to sue for infringement, you must register your work. More information is available from the link in the left column More FAQs on Copyright.gov. The link to the online form to apply for copyright registration is here.
Can I stream an entire video to Blackboard?
Under the Fair Use doctrine, showing entire films in the "classroom" qualifies as a "Fair Use" use. Given Blackboard's ability to limit users per class, per semester, it is often seen as an extension of the "classroom." Keep in mind Fair Use does not cover physical classroom convenience, meaning if you show a video in your face to face course, it is not Fair Use to then post the entire film on Blackboard. If your class is online, however, and Blackboard is your "face to face" space, then Fair Use applies. Each individual work should continue to be evaluated before being considered to use in the classroom as a Fair Use use. You can use a Fair Use Checklist to assist your evaluations of copyrighted works. We conclude the above perspective from the following Issue Brief and we continue to closely follow national trends and discussions.
Can I digitize a book and post it on Blackboard?
Digitizing text is evaluated differently than media when considering online availability in Blackboard. The third factor of Fair Use discusses "the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole." Generally copying an entire text, such as a book, is not supported by the Fair Use doctrine. The larger the amount being copied begins to impact the other factors of Fair Use as well, which weighs heavier against Fair Use when looking at all four factors on a Fair Use Checklist.
How do I link an article from the library database to my Blackboard course?
Linking to an article that is available from Lavery Library's databases is the best way to provide that resource to your students in Blackboard. To link an article from a library database in your Blackboard course, find the permalink of the article in the database, make sure the Off-Campus Access prefix is attached (https://pluma.sjfc.edu/login?url=) as this will make the link work when accessed from off campus as well as on campus. Paste the link in the appropriate folder in your Blackboard course (see Katie McDonald with questions). Now your students can access library resources directly!
See Katie McDonald or OIT with any Blackboard issues.
What is Fair Use?
Fair Use is an exception to the rights held by copyright owners to be used in the pursuit of research and scholarly progression. In order to consider a use of a copyrighted work to be Fair Use, the following four factors to be considered are:
1 – the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2 – the nature of the copyrighted work;
3 – the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4 – the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Is my use a "Fair Use"?
The best way to determine if your intended use of a copyrighted item is covered under Fair Use, use a Fair Use Checklist. You can also find out more information about Fair Use on this Subject Guide's Fair Use page found here.
I'm using copyrighted materials in my classroom... isn't ALL use on an academic campus considered "Fair Use"?
No! While using copyrighted material for an educational purpose is in favor of the Fair Use doctrine, each case needs to be considered using the four factors (purpose, nature, amount, market effect) of Fair Use as well as considering the transformative properties of the use. The transformative property relates to the character of the use mentioned with the purpose factor. Peggy Hoon describes "transformative use" as a use that "adds new content or meaning to a work, thereby creating a different sort of work, for example, a work of parody or a critical review" (41).
Hoon, Peggy and Cheryl Davis. "Fair Use and Licensing." The Center for Intellectual Property Handbook. Ed. Kimberly Bonner. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2006. 41.
What is the TEACH Act?
Visit North Carolina State University's Site explaining the TEACH Act to get a better understanding of how it works.
How many semesters can I use a copyrighted item under "Fair Use" before I have to get permission?
Fair Use supports the spontaneous usage of copyrighted works to be used in the benefit of research and science. When evaluating the usage of a copyrighted work to determine if your intended use is indeed, Fair Use, you must consider all four factors of Fair Use equally. The fourth factor of Fair Use is "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work." Generally continuing to use a copyrighted work more than one semester is not seen as "spontaneous" and implications on the potential market are weighted more in a Fair Use evaluation.
How do I get permission for a copyrighted work?
Once you have determined you need to obtain permission to use a copyrighted work, there are different ways to do this depending on the piece of work and the owner of the copyright protecting it. Kenneth Crews developed an extensive Permissions webpage for the Copyright Advisory Offices at Columbia University Offices to assist users in obtaining the permissions they need.
How do I know if the item I am using is protected by copyright?
Learn how to investigate the copyright status of a work by visiting www.copyright.gov or reading their Circular 22: How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work.
What are my rights as a creator of copyright protected materials within the scope of my job?
St. John Fisher College is in the process of developing a Copyright Policy. We encourage you to read The University of North Carolina's Primer of Copyright Ownership that provides more basic and in depth information regarding copyrighted materials created within an academic setting. This primer will provide a better understanding of the key factors surrounding Copyright Ownership on academic campuses.