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Copyright: Using Copyrighted Material

Wright State Policy

Wright State University

Copyright Policy

Ask the Author

An author may grant limited use of his or her copyrighted material.  Direct contact with an author may help you to resolve questions of use.

Copyright Assistance

For assistance with copyright questions, Wright State students, staff, and faculty should contact:

Wright State University Office of General Counsel

Copyright and the Classroom

Each time you use someone else's material you must decide whether your use infringes on the owner's copyright.  Classroom situations using other's copyrighted material include the traditional classroom, web-enhanced, and distance learning classes.  Examples of classroom uses of copyrighted materials include: teaching examples, presentations, reading materials, audio or visual recordings, art, or performances.

An owner's copyright gives the owner the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, or license the expressions of his or her ideas.  The owner also receives the right to produce or license derivatives of these expressions.  Copyright law includes limited exemptions to these rights in educational settings; fair use.

Your ability to use copyrighted material within fair use guidelines is dependant on your classroom situation.

Face-to-Face Teaching and Student Presentations: Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 110 of copyright law articulates legal use of copyrighted materials in face-to-face teaching situations.

Distance Teaching and Student Presentations: The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act [Public Law 107-273 sec 13301] articulates legal use of copyrighted materials in Distance Learning situations.  The TEACH Act updates sections 110(2) and 112 of Chapter 1 of the copyright law.

Course Reserves

Course Reserves are materials designated by faculty or staff for use by students in a specific course.  Course reserves provide equitable student access to limited materials.

Learn more about course reserves:




Audio and Video Recordings

If you or the University Libraries owns a DVD and you would like to provide streaming access through Pilot, you may do that for short clips, but not the full film content.

The TEACH Act (17 U.S. Code § 110) allows instructors and students in classes to show films in the course of face-to-face teaching activities. However, this is limited in scope and does not include the digitization of the entire content of a film. The Fair Use guidelines applies to content even in Pilot that is only accessible to students registered in the class. As clarified by the Wright Way Policy 12010.3 Audio and Video Recordings

The transfer of any work from one format (film, slides, videotape, DVD, etc.) to another format, the duplication of a work recorded in any medium, and the editing of any work require the written permission of the copyright holder, unless the work is no longer protected by copyright.

Transfers of other formats (film, slides, etc.) to a videotape format, duplication of a videotape, and editing of videotapes require written permission from the copyright holder, unless the work is no longer protected by copyright.

Digitizing a short portion of a film that is relevant to instructional purposes, and making it available to students through Pilot, is permissible under fair use guidelines. If you would like a portion of a University Libraries DVD digitized, please work with your subject librarian to identify the film, the portion of the film you are interested in using, and what class this is for. The Libraries will work with Instructional Technology Services to digitize that clip and upload it to Panopto for streaming. CTL will work with you to make the clip available through Pilot.

In order for us to digitize the entirety of any material in any format, you must obtain explicit permission from the copyright holder to digitize the content for streaming in class and provide a copy of that permission for our records. Obtaining copyright permission is the responsibility of the faculty member, not the University Libraries or Instructional Technology Services.


The use of library materials may be restricted outside of classroom situations.

Examples include: videos, art reproductions, and Wright State University performance recordings.

Fair Use considerations do not apply to licensed materials.

Other restrictions may include patent, trademark, and performance rights, and donor restrictions of archival material.

Course Packs

Course Packs contain collections of classroom materials that are gathered and sold to students.  The construction of course pack materials must conform to copyright law.

Copyright Duration and the Public Domain

Copyright duration rules differ:

1. Materials created today: copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

2. Materials created before 1978: was 75 year maximum; extend 20 years by 1998 act.

3. Materials made for hire, published anonymously, or under a psuedonym: 95 years from the publication date or 120 years from creation date, whichever came first.

4. Unpublished works (ancient and recent): copyright lasts the life of the author plus 70 years.

Public Domain

Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner. A work of authorship is in the “public domain” if it is no longer under copyright protection.

The Digital Copyright Slider can help you to determine if a work may be in the public domain.  The slider was created by Michael Brewer and the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy.

U.S. works from 1923 entered public domain 2019 Jan 01, the first additions to the public domain in twenty years.   The Duke Law School Center for the Study of the Public Domain explains Public Domain Day 2019.

Ask the Author

An author may grant limited use of his or her copyrighted material.  Direct contact with an author may help you to resolve questions of use.

Copyright and Research

The use of copyrighted material in research extends beyond the accurate author attribution of printed materials.  The use of datasets, performance styles, art work, and media are protected by special sections of copyright law.  The use of some materials, particularly music, media, artwork and software code may be further restricted by license agreements or contracts.  Exemplary scholarship honours the previous scholar's rights of reproduction, distribution, and performance.

Copyright and the Visual Arts

The College Art Association has written the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts.  The code provides visual-arts professionals with a set of principles addressing best practices in the fair use of copyrighted materials. It describes how fair use can be invoked and implemented when using copyrighted materials in scholarship, teaching, museums, archives, and in the creation of art.

Copyright and Public Performance

Movies and recorded television shows shown outside of standard classroom situtations (such as club meetings and university events) are considered public performances.  Public performance rights differ from educational fair use rights.  The MPAA offers directons on how to obtain public performance licenses.

Introduction to Copyright Basics Video


The Copyright Information Guide is provided by the University Libraries as an educational service to the University community.  The information contained in this guide is not legal advice.  Individuals and organizations should consult the Wright State University Office of the General Counsel or their own attorney.