Copyright Education (CERT)

The ULA Copyright Education Roundtable (CERT) is passionate about the copyright system. We help create a consistent understanding of the core rights that make up copyright along with the range of exceptions as they relate to libraries, readers, teachers, and learners.

Current Chair: Shawn Steidinger, University of Utah, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library

If you need special copyright information about what services your library can take online, please contact us. We are here to help and are happy to do so!

Need help with copyright & images as you prepare your ULA Fall Workshop presentation? Check out our slides from ULA 2019, available as a pdf: permissionFreeResourcesULA2019

Copyright Information in Context of Libraries

Copyright, as a system of rights and exceptions, helps define authorship, ownership, and re-use of content. This system becomes very relevant to libraries in their mission of connecting people to information and content. Libraries also provide services surrounding the creation of content making the copyright system important on an additional level.

Copyright consists of five rights (copy, adapt, distribute, display, perform) and ten exceptions. Becoming familiar with the five rights is the easy part! Navigating the exceptions as they relate to libraries is the trickier part. Knowing the five rights will help you quickly determine when the copyright system gets engaged within your library.

Five Exclusive Rights for Authors/Creators of Original Works

  • To reproduce the work
  • To prepare derivative works
  • To distribute copies of the work
  • To perform the work publicly
  • To display the work publicly

Copying and distributing would include services like scanners, copiers, printers, interlibrary loan, document delivery, or offering a publishing or file management service in the library. If there weren’t any exceptions to the right to copy and the right to distribute, a library would need permission to offer the service. But there are some exceptions to these two rights!

Adapting a work would include services like translating, developing a musical arrangement, abridging a work, or reproducing a piece of art work.These types of services or activities would probably require permission because there’s no good exception. Maybe your library has a re-use policy that covers these kinds of uses?

Performing a work publicly would include services like story time, showing a movie, hosting a play. There’s not an exception for story time, but there’s an exception for face-to-face teaching in an educational setting that school and academic librarians might need to know more about in order to fully assist their patrons with the right copyright information.

Displaying a work publicly means showing works on your library website or within your library. This activity might require permission. Check Section 109 and your library’s re-use policy. If your library doesn’t have a policy, start a conversation about getting one going.

Having a general familiarity with the library-relevant exceptions will help you in the next step of determining if you should obtain permission from a rights holder or rely on an exception. Sections 107, 108, and 117 will address copying and distributing. Section 109 will cover lending and some display exceptions. Section 110 will describe exceptions for teaching. They are worth becoming familiar with!

Five Exceptions Relevant to Librarians and Libraries

  1. Section 107 (Fair Use)
  2. Section 108 (Libraries & Archives)
    1. A. Qualifying for the Exemption
    2. B. Copying Unpublished Works
    3. C. Copying Published Works
    4. D. Articles or Excerpts for Users
    5. E. Out-of-Print Works
    6. F. Copiers & Scanners plus Fair Use
    7. G. Provisos
    8. H. Preservation & Term Extension
    9. I. Music, Pictures, Graphs, Sculptures
  3. Section 109 (First Sale)
  4. Section 110 (Public Performance)
  5. Section 117 (Computer Programs & Digital Information)

Possible Strategies
1. Consult Local Library Copyright Policy (sample re-use policy from U of Utah) or relevant attorney. 2. Look for Content with Permission Built-In 3. Find Copyright Owners 4. Get Permission for Books or Movies 5. Read The Librarian’s Copyright Companion, 2nd ed. by James Heller, et al. 6. Build a Copyright Reference Collection for Patrons 7. Use ALA Toolkit and ARL Code of Best Practices for Fair Use 8. Use Peter Hirtle’s copyright duration guide in Copyright and Cultural Institutions 9. Get tips from the Society of American Archivists
Build a Copyright Reference Collection
1. Richard Stim, Getting Permission: Using & Licensing Copyright-Protected Materials Online & Off, Berkeley, CA: NOLO, 2016. 2. Stephen Fishman, The Public Domain: How to Find and Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art, & More, Berkeley, CA: NOLO, 2017. 3. William S. Strong, The Copyright Book: A Practical Guide, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014.