This guide contains further details for faculty and staff in understanding copyright and how to use copyrighted materials for classes. Read more on important definitions and guidelines for public domain, fair use, images/videos, OERs and more.
Disclaimer: This guide is intended for informational purposes only. Library staff members cannot give legal advice. For legal advice, our users must contact an intellectual property attorney.
We continue to update the FAQ based on questions received from Calvin faculty. While we cannot guarantee access to every specific resource that you request, we are committed to helping you explore your options, both as creators and users of information, within the scope of copyright law.
Copyright is a set of rights that protects the works of authors, artists, composers, and others from being used by other people without permission; copyright guarantees that only the owner of their copyrighted work has the exclusive right to reproduce it, distribute it, perform it publicly, and prepare derivative works based upon it. According to the U.S. Constitution, copyright is not only for the protection of creators, it is also designed to "promote the progress of science and useful arts" (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8).
However, just because something is copyrighted doesn't mean you may not use it. You are not infringing on copyright if:
What do you need to know about navigating copyright for your courses? Here's a quick checklist of action points for you to move through as you prepare instruction around copyrighted materials:
Sample Message on Copyright for Your Syllabus
“The materials that I’ve provided in this course are for the use of students enrolled in the course and may not be further disseminated. Students may download one copy of the materials on any single computer for non-commercial, personal, or educational purposes. Beyond this, no material from the course web site may be copied, reproduced, re-published, uploaded, posted, transmitted, or distributed without the permission of the original copyright holder. I [the instructor] assume no responsibility for individuals who improperly use copyrighted material placed on the course web site.”