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Obtaining Usage Permissions

Posted: Jan 17, 2014

Copyright Law

The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs both use of and the reproduction of photocopies of copyrighted material including software, sound recordings, films and photographs.

The law explicitly permits libraries and archives to reproduce single copies of works for replacement and preservation and to provide individuals with single copies of works for their private use under certain conditions (Section 107f). Except for a few specific classroom teaching situations, US Copyright Law obligates a person to seek the permission of copyright holders before making or using multiple photocopies of copyrighted works published within the last 95 years.


Licensing Agreements

Although the "fair use" principles of the 1976 Copyright Act also apply to electronic resources, additional guidelines specifically covering multimedia for classroom instruction were adopted by Congress in 2000. Instructors should also be aware that use of many electronic resources (e.g. full-text journals or multimedia works), is commonly governed by licensing agreements that supplant "fair use" permitted by copyright guidelines.

Information about usage rights for many licensed electronic resources, especially electronic journals, is available from the detailed record displays in the Library Catalog. [Many of the Libraries' content providers now permit instructional use.] Otherwise, it prudent to contact the rightsholder or the agency serving as a rights clearinghouse about using a copyright protected or licensed work.


Obtaining Permissions

The below links identify the primary organizations managing usage rights.

PRINTED PUBLICATIONS - Obtaining permission to make or use copies of journal articles or book chapters frequently can be done via the Copyright Clearance Center (Danvers, MA). The CCC will also handle requests for use of electronic media and will contact rightsholders (publishers) about copyrighted items not its database.

MUSIC PERFORMANCES - The major agents providing information about licensing works for performance are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC

SOUND RECORDINGS - The main contact for use of recorded works is RIAA

MOTION PICTURES - three agencies also cover most of the movie industry: Motion Picture Licensing Corp., Movie Licensing USA for public libraries and K - 12 schools, and Swank Motion Pictures for colleges and universities.

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