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SVC Copyright

SVC Copyright Officer :
Systems & Technical Services Librarian




The Fair Use Doctrine balances the rights of the owner against the needs of society. It permits use of materials for nonprofit, educational purposes without permission under certain conditions. The Fair Use Doctrine does not guarantee protection from lawsuits or even the court decision, but good faith efforts may mitigate fines and damages. Think of fair use as a balance scale to see if your use tips to fair use or not. The following four factors are used to help determine if usage is fair use: 

  1. The purpose and character of the use. How and why will it be used? Classroom instruction is okay—public presentation is not. Does the use support your learning outcomes? 

  1. The nature of the copyrighted work. What kind of material will you be using?  Copying informational (nonfiction) works is more likely to be considered fair use—copying creative works (i.e. poetry) may not. Works intended for classroom consumption (workbooks) may not be copied without permission from the rights holder.  

  1. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. The amount to be copied should not be a substantial portion of the work. See the section below on Fair Use Guidelines. 

  1. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.  

Please contact the Copyright Officer, for assistance with Fair Use compliance. 

Permission for Copying Beyond Fair Use 

Anyone using works in a way that does not meet the Four Factors of Fair Use must obtain written permission from the copyright holder and file the permission with SVC’s Copyright Officer.  Contact for assistance in obtaining permission. 

Printed Works That May Be Used Freely 

Public Domain:

Printed works are freely available bia public domain when:

  1. The owner has placed the work into the public domain. See

  1. Works whose copyright has expired:

    • Publications are published before 1923. 

    • Works have no copyright notice and published between 1923 and 1977.  

  2. Failure to renew copyright protection. Currently copyright is conferred for 70 years beyond the life of the creator, but earlier law required renewal. 

  3. Categories not protected by copyright. U.S. federal government documents that are published by the Government Printing Office are not copyrighted. Some documents are now outsourced for publication and are copyrighted. 

Once a work is in the public domain, it is no longer eligible for copyright protection. 

Open Source and Creative Commons Licensed Works: 

The librarians will assist faculty in locating open source and Creative Commons licensed works for classroom curriculum. Online assistance can be found in the library Research Guides:  

Also, visit Open Washington Hub (, a repository of community college open source curriculum materials that are freely available to use. 


Copying is not a substitute for anthologies, compilations or collections whether or not the copies are collected or used separately. No copies may be made of items that are considered “consumables”, such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, test booklets or answer sheets. Copying may not substitute for the purchase of books, reprints or periodicals. Under Fair Use, copying the same materials may not be repeated quarter after quarter. See Coursepacks below. 


Coursepacks require permissions from the copyright holders.  The copyright officer will assist in obtaining copyright permissions through the Copyright Clearinghouse. Once permission is secured, the bookstore will arrange copying and selling of the product to students. Normally, permission must be secured each quarter. Please allow sufficient time (about 6 weeks) for permission and copying. Coursepack forms are located on SVC’s Portal at: Course Packs 


Film and videos are copyright protected but fall under Fair Use for face-to-face educational purposes.  Any other use outside the classroom requires written permission from the holder of copyright or performance rights.  

Recording and classroom use of broadcast programs (i.e. television) have their own set of limitations such as classroom use within 10 days of recording and retention of 45 days. For more details of conditions of multimedia presentations and off-air recording of broadcasts, contact Copyright Officer,


Multimedia projects produced by students and faculty for course-related work, which utilize copyrighted works, have limitations under the Educational Multimedia Fair Use Guidelines. Use of copyrighted works beyond the guidelines requires permission from the owner of copyright. Three copies may be made of the student/faculty project with an allowance of one copy for each member of a group project. Fair Use expires 2 years after the first instructional use of the product. 

Copyright Notices--It is the responsibility of the multimedia project creator to adequately cite the sources and to display the copyright notice and copyright ownership information if shown in the original source. It is also the responsibility of the creator to include an opening screen notice: “Certain materials are included under the fair use exemption of U.S. Copyright Law and have been prepared according to the educational multimedia fair use guidelines and are restricted from further use.” Source: 


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) regulates the use of digitized materials such as music, pictures, animation and documents. In general, do not scan or otherwise convert any analog intellectual property into digital format without permission from the copyright owner, unless it is certain that no digital copy is available in the marketplace (see TEACH Act below). The college will be held liable for unrestricted posting of copyrighted materials on web sites unless written permission is on file and copyright permission is noted on the web page. 


The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (known as the TEACH Act) became law November 2, 2002. This law addresses the use of digitized materials in a distance-learning situation. In order to use the TEACH Act, institutions must have in place a copyright policy and institute training for faculty, students and staff. 

The TEACH Act: 

  • allows for display and performance of non-dramatic literary works in their entirety without permission. These may be graphs, photographs, charts, or music. Dramatic works such as motion pictures, plays and operas may only be used in general and in reasonable and limited amounts. If, however, the use of a dramatic work is key to the teaching and would normally be used in its entirety in a face-to-face classroom, it is allowed.

  • does not apply to textual materials, like course readings. 

  • provides for the copying of analog materials into digital format for use in the digital classroom if it meets the following conditions:
    • The material is not available on the market digitally or the available digital copy is protected in a way that prevents its use,
    • The digital copy will be used only for the classroom,
    • No additional copies may be made from the copy,
    • The digital copy should be retained only for as long as necessary to meet the teaching objective.
  • Restricts access only to the students enrolled in the class through logins and passwords (i.e. Canvas). 
  • Limits  retention of copyrighted materials beyond the class session. If access is limited to authorized students and withdrawn when the teaching objectives are met, then, in general, the college has reasonably met the requirements.
  • Work must carry a warning notice to students. Example: “Materials in this course are only for the use of students enrolled in the course and may not be retained or distributed to others.” 

For more information, visit For assistance, please contact the Copyright Officer, .  


All Content CC-BY.