UNE Copyright Guidelines

Approved by the University of New England's Academic Council on June 15, 2009

About This Website

The creation and exchange of ideas and information are central to the University of New England’s mission of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in education, research, and service. The University’s faculty, staff, and students are creators and users of works protected by copyright. It is the intent of the University of New England to comply with all applicable provisions of the United States Copyright Law of 1976, as defined in Title 17 of the U.S. Code. This website serves as an informational resource for using copyright in the academic setting, in support of the University’s commitment to respect for intellectual property rights and the appropriate use of copyrighted materials in an environment of changing technologies and laws. This site will be regularly updated to reflect the changes in the law, policies, and technology. If legal advice is required, members of the University of New England Community should seek legal advice from the University’s legal counsel. 


  • Dean of Library Services (or designee): General academic copyright
  • Chief Information Officer (or designee): Digital copyright

UNE Policies

U.S. Copyright Law

Copyright Law of the United States : U.S. Copyright Office

The complete United States Copyright Law of 1976, as amended (Title 17, U.S. Code), referred to as the “1976 Copyright Act.”

Copyright Basics: U.S. Copyright Office

The U.S. Copyright Office website includes key publications, informational circulars, application forms for copyright registration, and links to the copyright law and the websites of other copyright-related organizations.

U.S. Copyright Circular 1, Copyright Basics, defines copyright, what can be protected by copyright, how to secure copyright, and how to register copyright.

Copyright Information for Educators and Librarians: U.S. Copyright Office

U.S. Copyright Office Circular 21 includes some of the most important legislative provisions and other documents dealing with fair use and reproduction provisions of the copyright law.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998: U.S. Copyright Office Summary

The DMCA updates U.S. copyright law to meet the demands of the digital age, conforms U.S. law to the requirements of two World Intellectual Property Organization treaties, and addresses other copyright-related issues. 

TEACH Act (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act) 

The TEACH Act, passed in 2002, amends section 110(2) of the 1976 Copyright Act, and broadens the scope of copyrighted materials that can be digitally performed or displayed for distance education by accredited, non-profit educational institutions that meet the TEACH Act’s qualifying requirements.

TEACH Act: Chart of changes to Section 110(2) of U.S. Code, amended November, 2002: by Laura Gasaway

Comparative analysis of issues between the previous law and the new TEACH Act and also contrasts new and old Sections 110(2) with "classroom exemption" for face-to-face instruction.

Securing Copyright and Registering Copyrighted Works

Copyright is secured automatically when a work is created in a fixed form for the first time. Copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. The following U.S. Copyright Office websites provide information on what can be protected by copyright, how to secure copyright, and how to register a copyright.

Copyright Basics

Registering a Copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office

Using Copyrighted Works

The links to the following resources are informational only and are intended to serve as additional tools and guides in creating and using copyrighted works in the academic environment.

Fair Use

Section 107 of the Copyright Act (Title 17, U.S. Code) identifies purposes for which
the reproduction of a copyrighted work may be considered “fair” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also specifies four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a use is “fair.” 

Fair Use Checklist

Based on the four factors in the fair use provision of Section 107 of the Copyright Act (Title 17, U.S. Code): purpose, nature, amount, and effect, the following checklist from UNE Library Services provides a tool for analysis in evaluating whether fair use applies in particular uses of copyrighted works.

Fair Use Guidelines

The following fair use guidelines have been established by various organizations to assist in applying the four factors to determine fair use with specific formats in specific education and research situations. 

Photocopying Books and Journals

“Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-For-Profit Education Institutions With Respect to Books and Periodicals” in Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians: U.S. Copyright Office. Circular 21

Educational Uses of Music

“Guidelines for Educational Uses of Music” in Reproduction in Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians: U.S. Copyright Office. Circular 21.

Educational Use of Television Broadcast Programs

“Guidelines for Off-Air Recording of Broadcast Programming for Educational Purposes” in Reproduction In Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians: U.S. Copyright Office. Circular 21.

Educational Multimedia

“Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia” : Consortium of College and University Media Centers, 1996

Image Collections

“A Proposal for Educational Fair Use Guidelines for Digital Images”: Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) draft, 1996

Fair Use Court Decisions 

The U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index is a searchable database of court opinions intended to help individuals better understand the types of uses courts have previously determined to be fair or unfair.

General Classroom and Online FAQ

Common academic uses of copyrighted works in teaching include uses in the traditional face-to-face classroom and in the online classroom and in course management systems. 

“Know your Copy Rights: What you CAN Do”: Association of Research Libraries, 2007. A brochure for faculty, covering fair use evaluation, linking to copyrighted works, provisions for displaying or performing works in class, and a chart highlighting specific academic situations.

Traditional Face-to-Face Classroom

“Using Copyrighted Works in Your Teaching—FAQ: Part I: Uses in the Traditional Face-to-Face Classroom”: Association of Research Libraries, 2007

Online Classroom/Course Management System

Using Copyrighted Works in Your Teaching—FAQ: Part II: Uses in the Online Classroom/ Course Management System”: Association of Research Libraries, 2007

“Using Course Management Systems: Guidelines and Best Practices for Copyright Compliance”: Copyright Clearance Center

“Linking to Full Text for Blackboard Courses”: UNE Libraries website

  • The UNE Libraries subscribe to electronic journals, books, and other resources for use by authorized University of New England users. License agreements for electronic resources define the terms and conditions of restricted use, in addition to copyright protection. Guidelines for linking to licensed electronic journal articles and electronic book chapters to Web CT courses are posted on the UNE Libraries website.
Obtaining Permission

If a copyrighted work does not meet the criteria for fair use or is not in the public domain, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or whoever has the right to give permission on behalf of the copyright holder. Written permission should be requested prior to use, directly from the copyright holder or publisher, or from an authorized agency.

The written request for permission should include:

  • Detailed description of the copyrighted material you wish to use: author, title, publisher, date of publication, specific chapter, image, illustration, etc.
  • Proposed use of the copyrighted material; duration of use
  • Reproduction format and distribution means
  • Electronic environment (password protected, IP restricted, etc.)
Copyright Permission Organizations

Several organizations manage permissions for copyrighted works. The following organizations are identified by type of material.


Copyright Clearance Center

  • The Copyright Clearance Center’s Academic Permissions Services obtains permission to use copyrighted print content, published digitally online or in hard copy, for course packs, e-reserves, course management systems, interlibrary loan, and other classroom and educational uses:

Music that is not in the public domain and music performances in public require permission. The following performing rights organizations collect license fees and distribute royalties for the public performances of works created and owned by songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers.

Images or Photos

Permission can be requested from the artist or photographer if the information is available. Selecting images and photos from a collection or database may simplify the permission process.

Media Image Resource Alliance (MIRA) [Cooperative agency that licenses royalty-free or rights managed images for specific uses.]

Motion Pictures

Motion Picture Licensing Corporation [Independent licensing agency that provides an umbrella license to ensure copyright compliance for the public performance of motion pictures.]

  • http://www.mplc.org/
  • Public Domain and Copyright Duration
    • A work is in the “public domain” if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Categories of works generally not eligible for federal copyright protection include, among others: U.S. Government works, ideas, facts, procedures, scientific principles, mathematic formulae, words, names, numbers, symbols, and standard charts or lists from public documents or common sources. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.
  • Duration of Copyright : Provisions of the Law Dealing with the Length of Copyright Protection: U.S. Copyright Office. Circular 15.
  • “Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States” : Peter B. Hirtle, Cornell University Copyright Information Center [A chart outlining copyright terms, expirations, and conditions.]
  • How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work: U.S. Copyright Office. Circular 22.
Stanford’s Copyright Renewal Database

[This database makes searchable the copyright renewal records received by the U.S. Copyright Office between 1950 and 1992 for books published in the U.S. between 1923 and 1963. Note that the database includes ONLY US Class A (book) renewals.]

Writers, Artists and Their Copyright Holders (WATCH)

WATCH is a database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent people in other creative fields. It is a joint project of the Harry Ransom Center and University of Reading Library in England. Founded in 1994 as a resource principally for copyright questions about literary manuscripts held in the U.S. and the U.K., it has now grown into one of the largest databases of copyright holders in the world.

Open Access

Scholarly content made available free of charge upon publication and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions is “open access.” Expenses for publication are generally paid by the author or by the author’s institution or grant funding source.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation that provides free licenses and
other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.

BioMed Central

All original research articles published by BioMed Central, a science, technology, and medicine publisher, are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication.

PLoS (Public Library of Science)

PloS is a nonprofit organization committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource. PLoS journals are immediately available online, with no charges for access and no restrictions on subsequent redistribution or use, as long as the author(s) and source are cited.

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)

DOAJ is a directory of scholarly, peer-reviewed journals that are open access, and users can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles.