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Copyright Basics

This guide provides information about using copyrighted materials in the online and face-to-face classroom. Disclaimer: This guide is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice.

Website Content & Permissions

Digital or electronic content, such as e-books, online documents, photographs on Web sites and electronic databases are subject to the same copyright protections under the Copyright Act as non-digital, traditional or analog works. Many people assume that online content found on web sites is not subject to copyright law and may be freely used and modified without permission or think that online content is not protected unless it carries a copyright notice. This is not true.

Before using content from a web site, you should determine the copyright status of the web content and, if necessary, obtain permission from the copyright holder.  If you intend to post copyright-protected content on a web site, you are required to get permission from the copyright holder.

In addition, some think that you don’t need permission to link another web site to your site.  A link from your site to another web site, especially to a page other than the homepage, may need the consent of that web site's owner. U.S. law is not clear on this issue. In an effort to be safe, many organizations only link their own sites to the public home pages, rather than the internal pages of other web sites. To ensure compliance, obtain permission even to link to another web site's home page.

The Copyright & Fair Use at Stanford has an excellent resource on using web sites content and how to obtain permisison.

 

Thank you to Austin Community College for granting permission to use the information from their copyright webpages.

Copyright & Images

Digital Content

Digital content has the same protections under the Copyright Act as non-digital, traditional or analog works.  Digital content consist of electronic versions of books, graphics, video, audio, music, web sites and online databases, etc.  Using digital content requires permission that is beyond the scope of fair use or the TEACH Act.

Here are some examples of what type of digital content is protected.

  • Electronic Books
  • Digital Video
  • Digital Audio
  • Graphics
  • E-mail
  • Web Sites
  • Embedded works on web site

Thank you to Austin Community College for granting permission to use the information from their copyright webpages.

 

Digital Content Tips