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Use of Copyrighted Materials

Policy 3112

It is the intent of the Board to abide by the provisions of copyright laws as they affect Schoolcraft College, its employees, and independent contractors.

Copyrighted works will not be used or duplicated unless such use or duplication meets “fair use” standards or written permission from the copyright holder has been received. Individuals who violate this policy assume responsibility for any copyright infringement. Employees who violate this policy are also subject to Schoolcraft College disciplinary procedures.

Procedure 3112.1

Federal copyright law is intended to protect the creative works developed by individuals or companies. Copyrighted materials include but are not limited to print, video, CD ROM, laser disk, and Web-based material.

Since the law no longer requires a copyright notice for a work to be protected, all works should be treated as copyrighted unless they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Works that lack originality (Logical, comprehensive compilations, e.g., a phone book)
  • Works in the public domain
  • U.S. government works
  • Facts

If the work meets any of the above, it can be freely reproduced; if not, the Fair Use Tests will dictate copying action.

If copying falls under the definition of “Fair Use,” copyright permission need not be obtained. The law is not crystal clear on the differentiation between “fair use” and copyright infringement. Several tests are used to determine if “fair use” applies to the situation.

The Checklist for Fair Use is a helpful tool for the academic community and serves two purposes. First, it should help educators, librarians, and others to focus on factual circumstances that are important to the evaluation of a contemplated fair use of copyrighted works. A reasonable fair use analysis is based on four factors set forth in the fair use provision of copyright law: Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. The application of those factors depends on the particular facts of your situation, and changing one or more facts may alter the outcome of the analysis. The “Checklist for Fair Use” derives from those four factors and from the judicial decisions interpreting copyright law.

A second purpose of the checklist is to provide an important means for recording your decision-making process. Maintaining a record of your fair use analysis is critical to establishing your “reasonable and good-faith” attempts to apply fair use to meet your educational objectives.

As you use the checklist and apply it to your situation, you are likely to check more than one box in each column and even check boxes across columns. Some checked boxes will “favor fair use,” and others may “oppose fair use.” A key concern is whether you are acting reasonably in checking any given box; the ultimate concern is whether the cumulative “weight” of the factors favors or opposes fair use. Only you can make that decision in a reasonable and good faith manner.

When materials are reproduced in excess of fair use standards, all Schoolcraft College employees are required to obtain written permission to reproduce copyrighted material prior to such reproduction. A statement that written permission has been obtained will be included on the copy, and the permission letter will be kept on file in the Doc-U-Center for printed material and in Media Services for all other material.

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