Definition:   Copyright is the right of an author, artist, composer or other creator of a work of authorship to control the use of his or her work by others.  Protection extends to literary works, musical works, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial and graphic works, sculpture, motion pictures and other audiovisual works, sound recordings and architectural works.  Generally speaking, a copyrighted work may not be reproduced by others without the copyright owner’s permission.  The public display or performance of copyrighted works is similarly restricted.

There are exceptions to these rules – notably the “fair use” doctrine, outlined below – but generally the unauthorized reproduction, performance or distribution of a copyrighted work is copyright infringement and may subject the infringer to civil and criminal penalties.

Definition of Copyright Infringement: Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement. Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at

Fair Use:    “Fair use” is a copyright law doctrine that permits the reproduction or other use of a copyrighted work, without the copyright owner’s permission, for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching and research. Copyright gives incentives to creators in order to effectuate a public purpose – the progress of science and the useful arts.  The Copyright Act, however, does not specify which uses are fair, but rather establishes a four-factor balancing test for courts to employ on a case-by-case basis.  Despite the broad reach of the Copyright Act, there are certain circumstances under which it is permissible to reproduce or display copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owner. These circumstances are known as “fair use” standards. The fair use standards, embodied in section 107 of the Copyright Act, are:

  1. The purpose and the character of the use, including whether it is for commercial or non-profit educational purposes;
  2. The nature or type of the copyrighted material (i.e., periodical, film, book, etc.);
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the whole;
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copy-righted material.

Instructional Materials Created In-House:

Tunxis faculty and staff who have developed their own instructional materials have copyright ownership on their work. Instructors may post their own authored materials, such as lecture notes, tests, exercises, problem sets, and PowerPoint presentations (see Section 2 of the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia). If material they authored has been published (e.g., in a journal), they may have transferred the copyright to the publisher. In that case, it will be necessary to either (a) obtain permission from the publisher to post the material; or (b) follow the Online Guidelines as outlined. Note: These guidelines were developed during the CONFU process. For a full explanation of their status, see Confu: The conference on fair use.

Permitted Uses of Educational Multimedia Programs Created Under These Guidelines: (Section 3 of the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia).

Uses of educational multimedia projects created under these guidelines are subject to the Time, Portion, Copying and Distribution Limitations listed in Section 4 below.

3.1 Student Use:

Students may perform and display their own educational multimedia projects created under Section 2 of these guidelines for educational uses in the course for which they were created and may use them in their own portfolios as examples of their academic work for later personal uses such as job and graduate school interviews

3.2 Educator Use for Curriculum-Based Instruction:

Educators may perform and display their own educational multimedia projects created under Section 2 for curriculum-based instruction to students in the following situations:

3.2.1 for face-to-face instruction,

3.2.2 assigned to students for directed self-study,

3.2.3 for remote instruction to students enrolled in curriculum-based courses and located at remote sites, provided over the educational institution’s secure electronic network in real-time, or for after class review or directed self-study, provided there are technological limitations on access to the network and educational multimedia project (such as a password or PIN) and provided further that the technology prevents the making of copies of copyrighted material.

If the educational institution’s network or technology used to access the educational multimedia project cannot prevent duplication of copyrighted material, students or educators may use the multimedia educational projects over an otherwise secure network for a period of only 15 days after its initial real-time remote use in the course of instruction or 15 days after its assignment for directed self-study.

After that period, one of the two use copies of the educational multimedia project may be placed on reserve in a learning resource center, library or similar facility for on-site use by students enrolled in the course. Students shall be advised that they are not permitted to make their own copies of the multimedia project.

3.3 Educator Use for Peer Conferences:

Educators may perform or display their own multimedia projects created under Section 2 of these guidelines in presentations to their peers, for example, at workshops and conferences.

3.4 Educator Use for Professional Portfolio

Educators may retain educational multimedia projects created under Section 2 of these guidelines in their personal portfolios for later personal uses such as tenure review or job interviews.

Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia:  (Sections 4 through 6)

4.1 Time Limitations

Educators may use their educational multimedia projects created for educational purposes under Section 2 of these guidelines for teaching courses, for a period of up to two years after the first instructional use with a class. Use beyond that time period, even for educational purposes, requires permission for each copyrighted portion incorporated in the production. Students may use their educational multimedia projects as noted in Section 3.1.

4.2 Portion Limitations

Portion limitations mean the amount of a copyrighted work that can reasonably be used in educational multimedia projects under these guidelines regardless of the original medium from which the copyrighted works are taken. In the aggregate, means “the total amount of copyrighted material from a single copyrighted work that is permitted to be used in an educational multimedia project without permission under these guidelines.” These limits apply cumulatively to each educator’s or each student’s multimedia project(s) for the same academic semester, cycle or term. All students should be instructed about the reasons for copyright protection and the need to follow these guidelines.

4.2.1 Motion Media

Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted motion media work may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of a multimedia project created under Section 2 of these guidelines.

4.2.2 Text Material

Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted work consisting of text material may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of a multimedia project created under Section 2 of these guidelines. An entire poem of less than 250 words may be used, but no more than three poems by one poet, or five poems by different poets from any anthology may be used. For poems of greater length, 250 words may be used but no more than three excerpts by a poet, or five excerpts by different poets from a single anthology may be used.

4.2.3 Music, Lyrics, and Music Video

Up to 10%, but in no event more than 30 seconds, of the music and lyrics from an individual musical work (or in the aggregate of extracts from an individual work), whether the musical work is embodied in copies, or audio or audiovisual works, may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as a part of a multimedia project created under Section 2. Any alterations to a musical work shall not change the basic melody or the fundamental character of the work.

4.2.4 Illustrations and Photographs

The reproduction or incorporation of photographs and illustrations is more difficult to define with regard to fair use because fair use usually precludes the use of an entire work. Under these guidelines a photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety but no more than 5 images by an artist or photographer may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of an educational multimedia project created under Section 2.

When using photographs and illustrations from a published collective work, not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of an educational multimedia project created under Section 2.

4.2.5 Numerical Data Sets

Up to 10% or 2500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less, from a copyrighted database or data table may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of a educational multimedia project created under Section 2 of these guidelines. A field entry is defined as a specific item of information, such as a name or Social Security number, in a record of a database file. A cell entry is defined as the intersection where a row and a column meet on a spreadsheet.

4.3 Copying and Distribution Limitations

Only a limited number of copies, including the original, may be made of an educator’s educational multimedia project. For all of the uses permitted by Section 3, there may be no more than two use copies only one of which may be placed on reserve.

5. Examples of When Permission is Required:

5.1 Using Multimedia Projects for Non-Educational or Commercial Purposes

Educators and students must seek individual permissions (licenses) before using copyrighted works in educational multimedia projects for commercial reproduction and distribution.

5.2 Duplication of Multimedia Projects beyond Limitations Listed in These Guidelines

Even for educational uses, educators and students must seek individual permissions for all copyrighted works incorporated in their personally created educational multimedia projects before replicating or distributing beyond the limitations listed in Section 4.3.

5.3 Distribution of Multimedia Projects Beyond Limitations Listed in These Guidelines

Educators and students may not use their personally created educational multimedia projects over electronic networks, except for uses as described in Section 3.2.3, without obtaining permissions for all copyrighted works incorporated in the program.

6. Important Reminders

6.1 Caution in Downloading Material from the Internet

Educators and students are advised to exercise caution in using digital material downloaded from the Internet in producing their own educational multimedia projects, because there is a mix of works protected by copyright and works in the public domain on the network. Access to works on the Internet does not automatically mean that these can be reproduced and reused without permission or royalty payment and, furthermore, some copyrighted works may have been posted to the Internet without authorization of the copyright holder.

6.2 Attribution and Acknowledgement

Educators and students are reminded to credit the sources and display the copyright notice © and copyright ownership information if this is shown in the original source, for all works incorporated as part of the educational multimedia projects prepared by educators and students, including those prepared under fair use. Crediting the source must adequately identify the source of the work, giving a full bibliographic description where available (including author, title, publisher, and place and date of publication). The copyright ownership information includes the copyright notice (©, year of first publication and name of the copyright holder).

The credit and copyright notice information may be combined and shown in a separate section of the educational multimedia project (e.g. credit section) except for images incorporated into the project for the uses described in Section 3.2.3. In such cases, the copyright notice and the name of the creator of the image must be incorporated into the image when, and to the extent, such information is reasonably available; credit and copyright notice information is considered “incorporated” if it is attached to the image file and appears on the screen when the image is viewed. In those cases when displaying source credits and copyright ownership information on the screen with the image would be mutually exclusive with an instructional objective (e.g. during examinations in which the source credits and/or copyright information would be relevant to the examination questions), those images may be displayed without such information being simultaneously displayed on the screen.

In such cases, this information should be linked to the image in a manner compatible with such instructional objectives.

6.3 Notice of Use Restrictions

Educators and students are advised that they must include on the opening screen of their multimedia program and any accompanying print material a notice that certain materials are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and have been prepared according to the multimedia fair use guidelines and are restricted from further use.

6.4 Future Uses beyond Fair Use

Educators and students are advised to note that if there is a possibility that their own educational multimedia project incorporating copyrighted works under fair use could later result in broader dissemination, whether or not as commercial product, it is strongly recommended that they take steps to obtain permissions during the development process for all copyrighted portions rather than waiting until after completion of the project.

6.5 Integrity of Copyrighted Works: Alterations

Educators and students may make alterations in the portions of the copyrighted works they incorporate as part of an educational multimedia project only if the alterations support specific instructional objectives. Educators and students are advised to note that alterations have been made.

6.6 Reproduction or Decompilation of Copyrighted Computer Programs

Educators and students should be aware that reproduction or decompilation of copyrighted computer programs and portions thereof, for example the transfer of underlying code or control mechanisms, even for educational uses, are outside the scope of these guidelines.

6.7 Licenses and Contracts

Educators and students should determine whether specific copyrighted works, or other data or information are subject to a license or contract. Fair use and these guidelines shall not preempt or supersede licenses and contractual obligations.

Use of the College’s Computer Systems and Copyright Infringement:

The College’s users will not make unauthorized copies of copyrighted material on or through the use of Tunxis Community College computer systems, networks, or storage media. The College’s users will not store unauthorized copies of copyrighted works using the College’s systems, networks and/or storage media. The College’s users should not download, upload, transmit, make available or otherwise distribute copyrighted material without authorization using the College’s computer systems, networks, and Internet access or storage media.  This is inclusive of utilizing

unlicensed/unauthorized peer-to-peer file services that would promote copyright infringement.

Tunxis Community College reserves the right to monitor its computer systems, networks and

storage media for compliance with this policy, at any time, without notice, and with or without

cause.  Additionally, the College reserves the right to delete from its computer systems and

storage media, or restrict access to, any seemingly unauthorized copies of copyrighted materials it

may find, at any time and without notice.  Users who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary

action as appropriate under the circumstances.

Material Unprotected by the Copyright Act

The following categories of material are not protected by the Copyright Act and may therefore be made available on course web sites without the permission of the copyright owner:

  1. Material that has entered the public domain because the copyright has expired. The rules for determining whether a work has entered the public domain are complicated, but are set out in chart form as prepared by Lolly Gassaway of the University of North Carolina.
  2. Works of the United States Government. By statute, U.S. Government works are not protected by copyright.
  3. Links to web sites. Anyone may freely reproduce the address of a web site, to which readers may “hyperlink.” Best practices suggest proper citation and notifying the web page provider.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries

The mission of academic and research librarians is to enable teaching, learning, and research.

Along with serving current faculty, researchers, and students (especially graduate students), these librarians also serve the general public, to whom academic and research libraries are often open. Finally, academic and research librarians are committed to faculty, researchers, and students of the future, who depend on the responsible collection, curation, and preservation of materials over time.

Copyright law affects the work of academic and research librarians pervasively and in complex ways, because the great bulk of these librarians’ work deals with accessing, storing, exhibiting, or providing access to copyrighted material. The rights of copyright holders create incentives for the publication of important work that forms the core of library collections, while at the same time constraining academic and research librarians in the exercise of their mission. Similarly, limitations on and exceptions to copyright rights enable academic and research librarians to use copyrighted materials in important ways, but impose limits and responsibilities of their own.

 Additional information about copyright is available on the following web sites:

United States Copyright Office “Copyright Basics” (PDF)

Stanford University Copyright and Fair Use Web Site

University of Texas “Crash Course” in Copyright