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Copyright and Fair Use


Copyrights are created by the Constitution and the  laws of the United States to promote the progress of science and the useful  arts by securing for limited times to authors the exclusive rights to their  works and writings. Rose State exercises a good faith effort to follow all aspects of copyright  law, for all faculty, staff and students.

There are  two sides to copyright:  for the creator  of copyrighted items, and for the user of copyrighted items.
Both of  these are addressed in Rose State Policy and Procedures  Manual:  (use the find feature to find the sections.) 

  • For the creator of creative content (See Section  1-28) 
  • For the user of creative content (See Section  2-59) 
  • For computer software (See Section 5-3)

Although copyright is addressed in the law (Title 17 of the US Code), all questions about copyright and its application are not addressed there. Especially in cases of Fair Use, we have guidelines to go by, but the final decision is made by the courts.  Court cases cost money, whether you win or lose.  Generally it is preferred not to go to court to determine whether the use of a particular work is a violation of copyright. So especially for things created for you by staff at Rose State, expect them to work on the side of caution and certainty rather than not. 

Who  Owns the Copyright at Rose State?


Students own copyrights in the works that they  create, even for class assignments. A student may be required to share their  work in certain contexts (e.g., submitting copies to instructors, presenting in  class, posting on BrightSpace/D2L, etc.) as a condition of participation in a  course but no one has a blanket right to reusestudent works without their permission. Student works should be treated with  the same respect shown to works by other authors.
Students may also use portions of copyrighted  works in the material they produce for a class, and they may use that later in  a portfolio, or in an application to a higher level educational institution. (Lehman  1998.)

Photocopying  textbooks 

Textbooks are protected by copyright law.  Under fair use guidelines, it is fair use to  use a portion of the work if you are using it for parody, to criticize or  comment, or for news reporting, teaching, or scholarship and research. You may  be able to copy a small portion of a textbook for a specific assignment. You  may not copy a textbook as a substitute for buying or renting the textbook. 
Only the copyright owner (the author or  publisher of the material) can give you permission to copy:

  • All the assignments from a book recommended for  purchase by the professor.   
  • Make multiple copies of articles or books  chapters for distribution to classmates.   
  • Copy material from consumable workbooks.

Class  notes and recordings

Students do not usually own a copyright in  recordings of class sessions, or in notes that closely resemble a transcription  of the class session or information presented in readings or other course  materials. These are derivative works based on the material presented by  instructors, or on the course materials. Students may conceivably own a partial  copyright in notes where the student has made significant original creative contributions. Regardless of specifics of ownership,  students may not share these materials  publicly without the permission of the instructor. 
Unless  otherwise noted, all content on the Copyright Information section of this site  is licensed under a Creative  Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License.

From  Rose State’s Policy and Procedure Manual:

Copyright Ownership and Royalty Distribution.

Original works. Under the Copyright Revision Act of 1976, 17  U.S.C. 101 et seq. (1976), works of original authorship are protected by  copyright from the time they are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, now  known, or later developed.

(2) Freedom to develop. All College personnel, in accordance  with the College's policy and basic objectives of promoting creative and  scholarly activities, are free to develop, create, and publish copyrightable  works. 

Property rights. Copyrighted works produced by College  faculty and staff are the property of the creator of that work. All rights  afforded copyright owners under Section 106 of the Act reside with the creator  unless he or she has assigned or licensed any of the enumerated rights.  Decisions relative to registering of these works with the Copyright Office are  left to the individual creator.

You,  the creator, own the copyright, unless:

(4) Commissioned works. Copyright in works specifically  commissioned by the College under Section 201(b) of the Act shall belong to the  College. As copyright owner, the College shall make decisions relative to  registering commissioned works. Royalties for College-commissioned copyrighted  works may be shared by the College and the creator(s) of the work. The terms of  any grant or contract relative to royalties shall take precedence over this  policy should there be a conflict between them. Disputes arising over royalty  sharing for College-commissioned works shall be referred to the Intellectual  Property Committee.

(5) Contracts and grants. Works produced under a specific  contract or grant agreement between the College and a governmental or other  agency or organization are subject to the terms of the grant or contract for  purposes of copyright. If copyright ownership is not specified, such rights  shall reside in the creator.

II-1-11 (6) Production services. Where College service  units (such as media production department) are involved with the production of  a substantially completed copyrightable product, royalties shall be distributed  between the copyright owner, i.e., faculty or staff creator, and the College as  provided for in a written agreement concluded prior to work being done.  However, in those instances in which a written agreement has not been finalized  prior to the completion of the copyrightable product, the standard distribution  of royalties will be provided to creator with 50 percent of the net income when  mass production and distribution are accomplished by the College or 50 percent  of the gross income when mass production and distribution are accomplished by  an outside entity. If this standard is unacceptable to either party, the matter  shall be referred to the Intellectual Property Committee.

NOTE: The content of these pages are to provide general information about copyright in the college environment.  They are not intended as legal advice.  Legal advice must be provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship that specifically focuses on all the facts of the particular situation for which legal advice is sought.  You must not use the information presented here as a substitute for a licensed attorney.


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