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Learn About Copyright



Section 110 (1) of the Copyright Act of 1976 specifies that the following is permitted: Performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to- face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made...and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made. Additional text of the Copyright Act and portions of the House Report (94-1476) combine to provide the following, more detailed list of conditions [from Virginia M. Helm, “What Educators Should Know About Copyright,” Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1986]:
  • 1. They must be shown as part of the instructional program.
  • 2. They must be shown by students, instructors, or guest lecturers.
  • 3. They must be shown either in a classroom or other school location devoted to instruction such as a studio, workshop, library, gymnasium, or auditorium if it is used for instruction.
  • 4. They must be shown either in a face-to-face setting or where students and teacher(s) are in the same building or general area.
  • 5. They must be shown only to students and educators.
  • 6. They must be shown using a legitimate (that is, not illegally reproduced) copy with the copyright notice included. Further, the relationship between the film or video and the course must be explicit. Films or videos, even in a "face-to-face" classroom setting, may not be used for entertainment or recreation, whatever the work's intellectual content.


Guidelines for Using Computer Software
  • Copyright law protects software and does not allow for copying it without the written consent of the vendor, even for educational purposes. If you have a single copy of a computer program, it should only be installed on one machine unless you have a license that permits multiple copies. A backup copy can be made for archival purposes only.
  • Computer programs often have licensing agreements that specify the number of users and restrictions on use. Read and keep a printed copy of the licensing agreement for any software you install to assure that you acti wihtin its terms. These licensing agreements may allow for multiple users, use on multiple computers in a networked environment, and other uses without additional permission. Should your needs exceed the permissions the license grants you, contact the software vendor and negotiate an agreement for a license that meets your needs.
  • Unlicensed copies of software should not be installed on university computers.

(Adapted from EDUCOM Using Software: A Guide to the Ethical & Legal Use of Software by Members of the Academic Community)