ELI, Electronic Library Initiatives
 

Copyright Circular 1: is it copyrighted?

Is the publication date prior to 1923?*

  • Yes ­ The material is no longer protected by copyright.
  • No ­ Is the publication date prior to 1978?

Is the publication date prior to 1978 and there is no copyright notice on the work?

  • Yes ­ The material is probably not protected by copyright.
  • No ­ Is the U.S. Government the author?

Was the work prepared by a U.S. government employee in the course of her employment?

  • Yes ­ The material is not protected by copyright.
  • No ­ Is the material raw data or facts?

Is the material raw data or facts without creative arrangement or analysis?

  • Yes ­ The material can not be copyrighted.
  • No ­ Is the material available in a database we license?

Is the material available in a database that is licensed by Yale University Library?

  • Yes ­ Check license to see if it allows online course support use.
  • No ­ Does the license allow fair use?

Does the University’s license allow fair use of the material?†

  • Yes ­ Is your use fair use? (See Circular 2: fair use )
  • No ­ See Circular 3: licensing

Is your use fair use?

  • Yes ­ OK to use the material,** see Circular 3: licensing for subsequent uses.
  • No ­ See Circular 3: licensing

NB: If the material is from a licensed database, the license of that database ALWAYS trumps any determination of fair use or even that the material is not copyrighted. If you want to use material from a database with a license that prohibits posting to course sites, but you feel your use qualifies as fair use, obtain the material in print (or other tangible form) and use that copy to exercise your fair use rights. Violating database licensing agreements can result in loss of access for the entire university.

*For a detailed chart that indicates when copyright will expire based on publication date, see http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm. Some post-1923 works are no longer protected because they were not renewed or because they were not published with appropriate copyright notice.

†See http://www.library.yale.edu/journals/licensing.html to check license restrictions.

**Part of the fair use determination is related to how spontaneous the use is, so repeated use is negative factor. If it is practical to secure permission prior to using the material for a second semester (or even during the first semester of use), this should be done.

Yale University Library Electronic Library Initiatives &
Information Technology Services, June 2003.

QUICK LINKS

University of Texas' "Crash Course in Copyright"

YUL's own Lib-license

UNC expert Lolly Gassaway's site(scroll down to "copyright" section)

Ask a copyright question

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This file last modified 02/26/09
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