DCC Copyright Primer

"The Congress shall have power ... to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

--US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8  

Danville Community College is committed to promoting an environment of respect for and responsible use of the intellectual property of others. It is the intent of Danville Community College that all members of the College community adhere to the provisions of the United States Copyright Law Title 17, United States Code, Sect. 101, et seq. The full text of the United States Copyright Law, Title 17, United States Code, Sect. 101, et seq. can be found at http://www.copyright.gov/title17/ .

The Copyright Act of 1976 and its subsequent amendments form the framework for current copyright law in the United States. Of particular importance to educators are Section 107, Limitations on exclusive rights: fair use; Section 110(2), Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performances and displays; and Section 112, Limitations on exclusive rights: Ephemeral recordings. "Fair use" is the doctrine which allows limited reproduction and use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder. The TEACH Act (sections 110(2) and 112) provides greater clarification of the acceptable use of copyrighted material when used in distance learning and instruction over digital networks. The links in the boxes above will provide you with specific information that will guide you in the acceptable use of copyrighted materials. 

As creators and users of copyrighted materials, it is important that educators understand and responsibly exercise the rights accorded to them under the copyright law, the doctrine of “fair use," and TEACH Act. The information presented in the DCC Copyright Primer is intended to provide the faculty, staff, and students of DCC with a general understanding of the principles of copyright law. The guidelines in the DCC Copyright Primer are provided to assist the College community to comply with federal and state law and the College’s copyright policy.

Fair Use

Fair use or Section 107 of the Copyright Act permits the use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder under certain prescribed circumstances.  The doctrine of "fair use" allows reproduction and other uses of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research.  The statute sets forth four factors to be considered in determining whether a use is fair; including the character of the use, the nature of the work, the amount used in proportion to the whole, and the impact on the market for the work.  The four factors provide educators with needed flexibility.


The information on this site is not intended as legal advice but rather as a general guide to copyright in an academic setting.