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Resources for Faculty & Staff: Copyright Information

Gateway Libraries

Copyright Policy / Information


The library policy is for library patrons and library employees to abide by all provisions of the Copyright Law.  In reference specifically to electronic reserve services, our policy is derived from the "fair use" provisions of United States Copyright Act of 1976. Section 107 of the Copyright Act and the TEACH Act Sections 110 and 112 amendment of Copyright Law. 

It is the policy of Gateway Technical College to comply with the copyright laws of the United States of America, and foster a respect for the copyright of others among administrators and instructional and support staff and students. 

Fair Use

Consideration of "fair use" is generally governed by the four factors in section 107 of the Copyright Act, the text of which is as follows:

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include--

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors (17 USCA 107, current through P.L. 106-580, approved 12/29/00)


The TEACH Act, 17 USC Section 110 (2) sets forth the conditions under which educational institutions may use copyright protected materials in distance learning without permission from the copyright owner and without paying royalties.  It extends the same fair use and many of the class session exceptions afforded instructors who teach in person to those instructors who teach their course online. 

However, instructors who use copyrighted materials on Blackboard or other distance education means, must reasonably:

  • limit access to copyrighted works to students currently enrolled in the class;
  • limit access to the time needed to complete the class session or course work;
  • prevent further copying or redistribution of copyrighted works;
  • not interfere with copy protection mechanisms;
  • use only "reasonable and limited portions" of the copyrighted work;
  • purchase existing digital copy if it exists;
  • limit use of the copyrighted work to "an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of a live classroom session".

3 ways for works to be ineligible for exemption under the TEACH Act:

1.  Failing to meet the statutory definition of Mediated Instructional Activities, which has 3 requirements to meet:

    - "an integral part of the class experience"
    - "controlled by or under the actual supervision of the instructor"
    - "analogous to the type of performance or display that would take place in a live classroom setting"

2.  Meeting the definition of Mediated Instructional Activity, but the work is "produced or marketed primarily for":

    - this includes mainly materials such as textbooks, course packets, and other materials that students would purchase outside of the class.
    - this also includes materials specifically designed for the online educational environment (digital tutorials or other multimedia designed for online environment).

3.  Failure to be "lawfully made"

    -this is the "anti-circumvention" part of the law, meant to keep instructors from hacking a DVD or other anti-tampering technology placed on a product.