No Permission? Don't Print It
When do you need permission to reproduce copyrighted materials? Can you print withoutit? Here's a guide to point you in the right direction.
How do you know when to request copyright permission and when it's okay to just use material? It isn't as cut and dried as it sounds.
The line between the two is often blurred by interpretations of the law, especially interpretations of the Fair Use statute in the university environment. Some organizations are perhaps too strict and others perhaps too lenient.
What follows is a layman's guide to copyright clearance and all its assorted parts. This article is intended to point you in the right direction to resources that can to help you and your organization decide what is best. (Note: It is always wise to consult a lawyer at your institution who understands both intellectual property laws and your organization's philosophy and vision before deciding on an interpretation.)
What is copyright clearance?
Copyright clearance is the act of requesting permission to use materials that do not belong to the requester. The Copyright Act grants copyright owners the sole right to reproduce or allow others to reproduce all or part of their work, distribute copies, prepare derivative works from the original, and perform or display the work publicly.
To see a more in-depth explanation of the rights afforded to rights holders, go to the following Web site: www.bitlaw.com/copyright/scope.html.
Does everything need copyright clearance?
No. If the material has fallen into the public domain, if it falls under fair use guidelines or if the work cannot be copyrighted, permission does not need to be requested from the rights holder.
To read more on what can and cannot be copyrighted, go to this site: http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/circs/circ1.html#wwp.
What is public domain?
The Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act increased the amount of time it takes for a work to fall into the public domain by 20 years. A general rule of thumb is 95 years after publication or 70 years after the creator's death.