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Copyright Law and Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials in Education: Home

This page provides information on Federal Copyright law and links to guides and FAQ pages regarding the use of copyrighted materials in education.

U.S. Copyright Law

U.S. copyright law is the purview of the Federal Government.  The governing statutes are codified as title 17 of the United States Code (17 USC).  The law assigns administration of copyright to the U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.  This agency provides official information and FAQ's regarding various applications of copyright.

Library of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office (

COPYRIGHT AND FAIR USE:  While authors and creators retain rights to permit or not permit copying and/or distribution of their creative works, the U.S. Copyright law recognizes certain circumstances in which reproduction and use is permissible.  The use of copyrighted materials for educational purposes is one of these circumstances.  Section 107-118 of the U.S. Copyright Act provides guidelines for "fair use" of copyrighted materials for educational purposes.

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States, 1 January 2013
Cornell University Libraries

T.E.A.C.H. Act (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act) governs the use of copyrighted materials in online courses.  

Central Michigan University Copyright Website

OTHER RESOURCES:  There are numerous resources available which provide information and answers to copyright related questions.  Here are several resources you may consult for further information.  Please keep in mind that while PSC librarians have some knowledge of copyright law, we are not licensed attorneys and as such can only provide you with our opinions on the legality of an intended use of copyrighted material.  Such judgment is governed by Polk State College Procedure 4004 and your own informed judgment on the matter. - Gary Becker's copyright information Web page.  Mr. Becker is a librarian and is recognized by the American Bar Association as an expert on copyright.  Mr. Becker frequently provides training on copyright to Florida librarians and educators. - Distance Education Clearinghouse, Intellectual Property and Copyright page. - Copyright Bay - Fair Use Harbor. Fun tutorials designed to educate and entertain educators about the copyright law and fair use doctrines.  Not a substitute for an opinion by a licensed attorney. 

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