The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
There are also some explicit exceptions to allow future creators to make limited use of these works to create new works of their own as well as allow educators and researchers to build on the work of others to further the progress of scholarship.
Protected materials include written work, artwork, musical scores, choreography, and architectural designs that are fixed to a tangible medium.
The creators of these works are given the following rights for the designated period of copyright protection (usually the life of the creator + 70 years):
Anyone other than the copyright holder must have permission to perform these actions with the copyrighted work, unless the use can be considered "fair use" or the item has fallen out of the term of copyright protection and is in the public domain.
Authors of scholarly research sign over many of these rights to the publishers of paywall-based scholarly journals when the articles are published. Many authors choose to publish their work open access to maintain more ownership and give others greater flexibility in usage than traditional copyright agreements generally allow.
Copyright owners can give you permission to use their work, but please note that if an article has been published through an academic journal, the journal owns most of the copyright on that article, not the author.
New works of art and research are based on the works that came before, but copyright law can limit a creator's access to these works. As Judge Joseph Story noted in 1845:
“In truth, in literature, in science and in art, there are, and can be, few, if any things, which in an abstract sense, are strictly new and original throughout. Every book in literature, science, and art, borrows, and must necessarily borrow, and use much which was well known and used before.” (Emerson v. Davies, 8 F.Cas. 615, 619 (No. 4,436) (CCD Mass. 1845), quoted in Hudson Jr., 2004)
The fair use exemption exists for just this reason.
Hudson Jr., D.L. (2004, August 5). Copyright and the First Amendment. First Amendment Center. Retrieved from http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/copyright-the-first-amendment/.
The Fair Use Evaluator (see below) provides a guide to these steps, and creates a (non-legally binding) evaluation form at the end. Fair use tends to be decided by the courts on a case-by-case basis, so there's no single formula that will decide if a use can be considered fair or not.
Adapted from Copyright (DSC Library at Daytona State College) and used with permission.
Posting an item to Canvas for educational purposes does not exempt an instructor from copyright regulations. The information presented here provides guidance but should not be considered legal advice.
Please email email@example.com to consult with a librarian for guidance on the use of copyrighted course materials.
For all Canvas-related questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to create a support ticket.