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Scholarly Communication, Open Access, and Publishing: Copyright & Fair Use

This guide provides faculty, staff, and students information about the transformation in creating, distributing, providing access to, and preserving scholarly output within the academic community.
  • Last Updated: Aug 28, 2017 1:45 PM
  • URL: http://research.auctr.edu/scholcomm
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General Statement

The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library provides access to print and other electronic resources, including Internet, free and subscription-based electronic resources and electronic course reserves. These resources are provided for scholarly research, instruction and non-commercial use. By using these resources, all library users agree to abide to the copyright, terms and conditions of each resource. Unauthorized use or access to the AUC Woodruff Library's electronic resources may result in suspension of library privileges. In addition, individuals found liable for copyright infringement may be subject to substantial statutory damages in excess of $30,000 (17USC504, http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html)

Unacceptable Use

It is unacceptable to use the Library’s computers, the Internet, and electronic, media, and print resources in a manner that violates copyright law. Violations will result in suspension of library privileges. Unacceptable use includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Unauthorized downloading, uploading or file sharing of copyrighted material, such as music, video files or other copyrighted works;
  2. Purposes that are illegal, unethical, harmful or fraudulent;
  3. Purposes that violate fair use;
  4. Use of resources for commercial purposes.

Educational Fair Use

On occasion, faculty, staff, and students may need to reproduce copyrighted works in print or digital form. Section 107 of the U.S. Code on copyright (17USC107, http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107 ) addresses fair use of materials. It provides for limited copying and reproduction of copyrighted resources for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research. Such use is generally not an infringement of copyright. Four factors help determine fair use:

  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;
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Another resource which may be helpful  in determing fair use for educational purposes is the U.S. Copyright Office's circular on Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians (http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf).

Faculty member’s use of course management systems such as Blackboard/WebCT, Canvas, or Moodle to deliver curriculum resources to students yield copyright issues similar to those of placing resources on an electronic reserve system. Fair use in posting of articles and chapters still applies. In addition, permission to post copyrighted materials in course management systems, including student papers, may need to be obtained in advance of posting. Atlanta University Center faculty members should consult their institution’s copyright policies on for posting content on a course management system prior to uploading content.

For More Information

Questions about open access and scholarly communication may be sent to scholcomm@auctr.edu .