Introduction | Copyright and the Classroom | Copyright and Research | More Information
Copyright is one means of protecting intellectual property; others include trademarks and patents. This guide specifically covers copyright and its role in teaching and research.
It is important to understand copyright because it affects what you can use in your teaching and your scholarship. This guide is meant to give you more information about what you can use to be in compliance with U.S. copyright law.
Copyright and the Classroom
I'd like to put something on reserve at the library. What do I need to know? | What about posting items to Blackboard? | Can I show videos to my class?
I'd like to put something on reserve at the library. What do I need to know?
The Davidson College Library reserve system provides limited access to course-related materials through time restricted loan periods. The electronic reserves system is an extension of the traditional model and is for educational purposes only.
The Library complies with U.S. Copyright Law by considering and balancing the four fair use factors for each item placed on reserve, if there is no license in place governing access to the material. Determining fair use and seeking permission from a copyright holder, if necessary, is the responsibility of the faculty member. The Library reserves the right to refuse a request to place material on print or electronic reserve if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the request would violate copyright law.
To submit a course reserves request, please use the Course Reserve Item Form.
For more information about library course reserves, contact Jean Coates, Assistant Director, Access and Acquisitions, 704-894-2332.
What about posting items to Blackboard?
Faculty must abide by copyright law when posting materials to Blackboard, even when the items are password protected.
If possible, provide a persistent link to the full-text of an article or book chapter from one of the Library's licensed databases. The right to link to these articles has been negotiated for you by the Library, so you may use these links without securing additional permissions. For more information about how to create persistent links, click here.
If the Library does not provide electronic access to the full-text of the item, you must determine if your use of the material is "fair" or if it's necessary to seek permission to post it. For more information, please see the Library's copyright guide.
Can I show videos to my class?
You may show films during class, either for presentations or teaching purposes.
You must obtain public performance rights to show them at activities unrelated to classes for which students are registered.
The Davidson College Library has many films purchased with public performance rights; they are labeled clearly on the video and in the item record. To search for these in the catalog, do a keyword search for "public performance rights" and limit your search to "Video Materials (VHS/DVD)."
Copyright and Research
Who owns the work I do as a faculty member at Davidson College? | How can I register my own work for copyright? | What if I'd rather make my work available for others to use without permission?
Who owns the work I do as a faculty member at Davidson College?
At Davidson College, there are two types of intellectual property: college-owned and member-owned. If the work is college-owned, Davidson College has the "sole authority to exercise all rights available with respect to any College-Owned Intellectual Property," including selling and/or licensing it and obtaining copyrights, trademarks, or patents. If the work is member-owned, the creator has the right to the work, but Davidson College has "a non-exclusive, perpetual and royalty-free license to use all Member-Owned Intellectual Property for internal instructional, educational and administrative purposes."
Intellectual property created by Davidson faculty and students is member-owned if it is NOT:
- Patentable or that reasonably could be used for a commercial purpose.
- Specifically directed, commissioned or sponsored by Davidson College.
- More integral to, and reflects more directly on, the identity of Davidson College than on the identity of the individual(s) who created them
- Created using substantial resources of Davidson College
For more information and specific examples, see the Davidson College Intellectual Property Policy.
How can I register my own work for copyright?
If you've determined that the work you've done as an employee of Davidson College is member-owned, or if you've created a work outside your capacity as a Davidson employee, you may copyright your work. Although a work is copyrighted as soon as it is created in fixed form, there are advantages to registering the work for copyright protection:
- The facts of the copyright are publicly available.
- The copyright owner receives a certificate of registration.
- Registration is necessary to bring a lawsuit for copyright infrigement and can make the copyright owner eligible for statutory damages and legal fees.
To register for copyright protection, you must submit:
- an application form,
- a filing fee (non-refundable), and
- a copy of the work to be deposited with the Copyright Office
These items can be submitted online through the electronic Copyright Office (eCO), with the barcoded fill-in Form CO which you complete on your computer, print, and mail to the Copyright Office, or with a paper version of the form that will be sent to you upon request.
For more information, see:
What if I'd rather make my work available for others to use without permission?
Since a work is automatically copyrighted, you must be clear about your intention to remove some or all of its copyright protection. You can do so by creating a license for your work or by adding it to the public domain.
Creative Commons offers free licenses which allow you to keep your work copyrighted but also let people copy and distribute it with attribution. You may choose from six types of licenses with varying degrees of restrictions. To publish your work with a Creative Commons license, click here.
If you want to waive all copyright protections and add your work to the public domain, you may do so with the Creative Commons CC0 tool. To read more about this option, see About CC0 - "No Rights Reserved" and CC0 FAQ.
For more information, see:
Where can I get more information? | What if I have questions about copyright?
Where can I get more information?
What if I have questions about copyright?
Library staff members cannot give legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact an intellectual property attorney.
For general information and guidance, please feel free to Ask a Librarian. Stop by the reference desk, call us (704-894-2425), e-mail us, or text us; we're here to help you!