In a commitment to academic integrity and to abiding by legal requirements, Warner Pacific University will adhere to the provisions of the United States copyright law (Title 17, United States Code). Members of the Warner Pacific University community will familiarize themselves with this law and comply conscientiously with the requirements. All members of the community will respect the proprietary rights of owners of copyrights and refrain from actions that infringe upon those rights. Individuals who willfully disregard copyright law place themselves at risk of civil and criminal legal action. (2005)

United States Copyright Office
Crash Course in Copyright Online Tutorial (University of Texas, Austin)
Questions to the WPU Copyright Compliance Officer
WPU Photocopy Copyright Checklist Photocopy Requests
Know Your Copy Rights, Assoc. of Research Libraries
Teaching Copyright Curriculum (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Copyright Information for Students

Frequently Asked Questions for Students and Faculty

Question: What works are protected?

Answer: Assume that EVERYTHING is. Even handwritten letters are covered by copyright law, and the rights belong to the writer of that letter.  Everything on the World Wide Web is copyright protected, even if no copyright statement is included.

The two factors written into the law are that the work has a creator (author, artist, photographer, sculptor, etc.) and that the work is fixed in a tangible form (print, artwork, visual images, AND electronic formats, etc.).

Question: What are the rights of the copyright owner?

Answer: The copyright owner has the right to control all reproduction of their work, all distribution of their work, all derivative works (such as a screenplay from a novel) and all public performance and display of their work.

Question: How long does a copyright last?

Answer: Materials published before 1922 are in the public domain. Later materials will not enter the public domain until the year 2018. Everything else has lengthy coverage which has fluctuated over the years due to changes in the law. The current coverage is the life of the author plus 70 years. Even anonymous works are covered for 95-120 years from their creation.

Question: What can I do? What can’t I do?

Answer: You can make copies of small portions (a book chapter, a single article, a single poem, etc.) to do research and study.
You cannot insert copies of other people’s works into your papers and turn them in. Especially illustrations! You may quote and cite small portions of other people’s works, but an illustration is a whole work. If you simply must have an illustration created by someone else, obtain permission from the copyright holder. This applies to graphics on the World Wide Web, as well as, photographs, etc.

Question: How do I judge whether I am within “fair use” or not?

Answer: The courts use four factors to determine this on a case by case basis. The factors are:

  • The purpose for which the material is used.
  • The nature of the work being used
  • The amount of the work being used
  • The effect on the publishing/licensing market

If you need further explanation of these factors, contact your friendly librarian or go to the
United States Copyright Office.

Question: I want to take pictures from the Internet and insert them into a power point presentation to be used in the classroom. The subject is church history, and the pictures are portraits of historical figures we will be discussing. I want the students to be able to see these people as an enhancement of the learning process.

Answer: This is a borderline case. Weighing the four factors of fair use: Purpose is educational – this weighs in favor of use. Nature of the work is highly creative (paintings, photographs) – this weighs against fair use. The amount is the complete work – this weighs against fair use. Effect on the market is negligible unless these digital pictures are available for purchase – this weighs in favor of use. If the websites where you find these pictures have copyright statements that state that any reproduction is prohibited, you need to get permission to use the images. It is recommended that you track down the origin of the picture and request permission to use it. This can be as simple as an email exchange. Explain what you want to use and how you want to use it. If you get permission, this should be indicated in your powerpoint presentation in small print – “Copyright 2005 John Doe, used by permission.” ANOTHER OPTION: link from your power point presentation to the website page that contains the picture. You are not making a copy, so no permission is required.

Question: I want to play excerpts of musical recordings in class so that students can hear and discuss the lyrics about the course content.

AnswerPurpose is educational – weighs in favor of use. Nature of the work is highly creative (composition & performance) – this weighs against fair use. Amount of the work is small portions – this weighs in favor of use. Effect on the market is negligible since it is not reasonable to expect the students to buy their copies – this weighs in favor of use. Section 110 of the copyright law indicates that performance in a face-to-face teaching activity directly related to the course content are not infringements. However, do not make copies of the recordings. Play the original, legally purchased recordings. Also, do not distribute copies to the students directly or through a third party.

Question: I want to put photocopies of journal articles on reserve.

Answer: Please see our course reserves policy.

Question: I want to use excerpts from a movie in class to illustrate psychological concepts. Can I do this?

Answer: As long as you are using a legally obtained copy (personal, library owned) and are not showing the entire movie, this is allowed. Making a compellation tape of excerpts from several movies is NOT allowed. Similar to the question above regarding sound recordings.

Question: I want to have the students read some articles. I haven’t been able to find an electronic version that they would have access to. Can I scan the articles and make a pdf version and make that available to them through the website?

Answer: Making an electronic copy is the same as making a paper copy. Under fair use guidelines, the articles can be used once in class. If you want to use the same articles for subsequent semesters or modules/cohorts, permission will be necessary. Please contact the Copyright Officer for help finding alternatives or requesting permission from the copyright holder.

Disclaimer: This policy, questions, and answers apply to the Warner Pacific University Educational Community only. No legal liability is assumed by providing this information. The information on this page is not provided as legal advice. I am a librarian, not a lawyer or a judge. Use this information as general guidelines.

Just because what you do is educational does not mean that you have the freedom to do whatever you please. Just because you are not making a profit does not mean you can do whatever you please.