The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of
photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in
the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One
of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or other reproduction is not to be “used for
any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or
later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use”, that user may be
liable for copyright infringement.
This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment,
fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.
Copyright may be an issue when dealing with:
- Journal articles, or excerpts from articles
- Books, or excerpts from books
- Databases and electronic journals
- Musical works, scores, lyrics, and sound recordings
- Pictorial/graphic works, art, sculpture, photographs
- Audiovisual works, motion pictures, videos, video games
- Computer software
Copyright is probably not an issue when dealing with:
- Publications of the US Government
- Published works for which copyright has expired or does not apply, i.e. works in the Public Domain
How do I know if it’s ok to use a copyrighted item?
The Fair Use Test:
- What is the purpose and character of your use? (Is it transformative? Or are you keeping the work as it is? Fair Use favors transformative use of a work, meaning that you have changed the work significantly from its original form.)
- What is the nature of the copyrighted work? (Published? Fiction? Fact? Fair Use favors published, fact-based works)
- What is the amount and substantiality of the portion taken? (Fair use favors small pieces of a work)
- What is the effect of the use upon the potential market? (If the use you are proposing was widespread, would there be an effect on the market for this work? Fair Use favors no detrimental market effect. For example, if you want to use an entire published song in a video you created without paying royalties to the copyright holder or asking permission, and this use became widespread, this could be considered a detrimental effect on the market for that song.)
For more information on copyright see our helpful guide Copyright Restrictions
What about P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing?
P2P file sharing of copyrighted files (such as music and movies) is prohibited, and is tracked and traced on the RRCC campus by our IT staff.
Permission to Use / Copyright Clearance Request – request copyright clearance and permission to use published content as assigned reading in your class