Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright exclusive rights, yet it also provides for fair use under certain circumstances. Materials used by the Cofrin Library for electronic reserves (e-reserves) must have permission from the copyright holder or be covered under the fair use provisions.
In order to answer this question, you must answer three other questions:
These four factors are the basis for legal decisions when disputes between the copyright holder and a "user/infringer" arise. Interpretation of these factors varies from person to person, but recent court decisions and discussions between groups with a stake in copyright indicate that the courts are leaning toward a stricter interpretation than has previously been used.
The UW System Copyright Task Force has provided the following information:
These sites provide"rules of thumb" to help you determine if your use of material for e-reserves falls within the fair use guidelines.
The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U. S. law, although it is often beneficial. Because prior law did contain such a requirement, however, the use of notice is still relevant to the copyright status of older works.
Notice was required under the 1976 Copyright Act. This requirement was eliminated when the United States adhered to the Berne Convention, effective March 1, 1989. Although works published without notice before that date could have entered the public domain in the United States, the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) restores copyright in certain foreign works originally published without notice.
Use of the notice may be important because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in the event that a work is infringed, if a proper notice of copyright appears on the published copy or copies to which a defendant in a copyright infringement suit had access, then no weight shall be given to such a defendant's interposition of a defense based on innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages, except as provided in section 504(c)(2) of the copyright law. Innocent infringement occurs when the infringer did not realize that the work was protected.
Please refer to "When Works Pass Into the Public Domain," by Lolly Gasaway and Professor Tom Field, for a chart to help determine whether a work is still protected or not.
For your convenience, we have provided you with a sample letter to the copyright holder Obtaining permission is often a lengthy process--sometimes many months. Because of this, we encourage you to send letters as soon as you decide to place the item on e-reserve and to follow-up promptly if you need to contact a different publisher or individual. If publishers no longer hold the rights to a work, they can usually provide an address or other contact information. If not, additional work may be needed to track down a person or publisher. Please contact the Reference Desk (261-6220 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance with locating addresses for publishers or individuals.
Please refer to Copyright Information for more copyright resources.