Frequently Asked Questions : Print

1. May I make copies ofa Star Tribune cartoon or article to distribute to my class or put onReserve for the purpose of class discussion?

Answer: Yes, aslong as the cartoon or article is not copyrighted, is not taken from asource designed specifically for the educational market, i.e.Scholastic Magazine, and the provisions of spontaneity and brevity havebeen met (See  classroom use guidelines).

2. May I create a bound course pack containing all the readings from various sources that the students in my class need to read?

Answer: This ispermissible if you have received copyright permission from each of theowners to make this course pack. The staff at Document Services willseek permission for a fee, if given sufficient time. (See classroom use guidelines)

3. A former colleague haswritten a play I want my students to read. May I put severalphotocopies of the play on Reserve? If not, how much of the play may Iput on Reserve? What can I do to get the whole thing on Reserve?

Answer: If thecopyright owner (and the playright is not necessarily the copyrightowner) has given permission, yes. If not, you may request permission orput a small excerpt on reserve. (Protected Works.)

4. May I submit the sheet music for a new work to be processed for Electronic Reserve? I did purchase one copy.

Answer: No. Unlessyou have received permission from the copyright holder this would be aviolation since it is not one of the permitted uses. Also, this usedoes not meet the criteria of the four factors: duplication wouldaffect the income of the copyright holder, and the amount to be copiedequals the whole and not a small portion thereof. (Ditto, #3 above)

5. A book I own is out of print. I would like to photocopy half of it and put in on reserve. Is that o.k.?

Answer: No.Copyright protection does not end as a result of an item no longerbeing in print. All reasonable steps must be taken to determine who isthe current copyright holder and action should be taken to contact theholder and request permission to copy. Library staff will take steps todetermine the current copyright holder, contact the holder, requestpermission to use, and pay fees.

6. There is no copyright notice on my publication, so I can copy freely, right?

Answer: No. Almosteverything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 iscopyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. Follow sameprocedures as in #5.

7. If I download anarticle from Lexis/Nexis, may I put copies on Reserve? On ElectronicReserves? Can the Electronic Reserve web page for my class simply linkto the article? Can I email it to the students in my class?

Answer:  Mostdatabases are copyright protected, and use is defined by specificlicenses. Each database license will determine what is possible. Pleasecontact Connie Karlen with specific questions on use. In cases ofelectronic journals that we subscribe to, we can link to specificarticles from Electronic Reserve web pages.

8. I had an articlepublished in a scholarly journal three years ago. I plan to photocopyit and distribute it to my class. This is fair use, right?

Answer: Youprobably signed over copyright to the journal that published thearticle and that article is no longer “yours.” You may request to put acopy of the published journal version on reserve.

9. May I put one chapter of a book on reserve and a different chapter in my course folder?

Answer: Anythingput in a course folder must follow the same copyright guidelines. Theanswer would therefore be “no.”

Frequently Asked Questions : Multimedia

1.  What do you mean by electronic video distribution? 

Answer:Electronic video is a digitized video file that can be viewed on acomputer through a video player, such as Apple’s QuickTime orMicrosoft’s Video Player.  Distribution technologies includemaking said videos available for download through a web browser, videopodcast, or streaming media player.  It also includes puttingelectronic video files into course folders or Moodle.

2.  What is streaming?

Answer: Streamingvideo is a sequence of “moving images” that are sent in compressed formover the Internet and displayed by the viewer as they arrive. Streamingmedia is streaming video with sound. With streaming video or streamingmedia, a Web user does not have to wait to download a large file beforeseeing the video or hearing the sound. Instead, the media is sent in acontinuous stream and is played as it arrives. (From  Video streams are more difficult for users tocopy and share without authorization than un-streamed files.

3.  Can I place a video directly on my personal or course website?

Answer: Unless there are no copyright restrictions on the video, no.

Only if If we own the copyright or otherwise have permission the video may be posted. If we do not have specific permission, theposting would have to fall under an exemption such as fair use. Meetingall the fair use conditions in this instance can be difficult. Often,the condition of not harming potential market value is not met. Forexample, you might not think it would harm sales of a magazine if youscanned a picture from the magazine and then distributed it on theInternet. This could be true, but the magazine itself mightwish to sell issues over a computer network in the near future. In thiscase, your distributing the image takes away potential market value andis an unauthorized reproduction and an unauthorized public display ofthe work.

Moreover, if a work is distributed via a computer network, one shouldnot assume it is fair game to use for any purpose. Some products oncomputer networks are made available with copyright notices. Many arenot. Liability for unauthorized copying and distribution can extend notonly to the person who might post something and their institution butalso to those who access, download, and forward the items. In the caseof distributing copyrighted materials over a network for educationalpurposes, fair use would not necessarily cover the action because theteaching is not done in a face-to-face manner. The user would incur anyliability for improper use. If you have questions, check with theadministrator of the network, bulletin board, or other service wherethe work is available.  (From Penn State:

4.  How much of a film can I stream?

Answer: The three minutes or 10% restriction has been adopted to comply with Fair Use.

  1. If permission has been obtained to stream an entire video, the entire video will be streamed.
  2. If no permission has been obtained, we are only allowed to distributethree minutes or 10% of the original work will be streamed, whicheveris less.

5. May I compile a cd of music from various sources and distribute it to my students or put on reserve for them to copy?

Answer:  The answer to this is “no”.

There is no question that copyright can be confusing and there are manyinterpretations that can often seem contradictory. We make an attemptto follow the guidelines and law to the best of our understanding. The bottom line is always, when in doubt, request permission from copyright owner.

6.  What is Fair Use? 

Answer: Please see the fair use section of Macalester’s Copyright site.

7.  Can I stream clips from a commercially available DVD or a Macrovision encrypted VHS tape?

Answer: No.

Other Ways to Share Video
All Media Services materials and your own personal audio visualmaterials may be placed on reserve at Media Services.  Placing anitem on reserve allows students to check it out for a 4 hour timeperiod.  During this time period, students may view the item usingthe video viewing carrels at Media Services or take it to anotherlocation such as the Digital Resource Center or their dorm to watchit.  If an item is checked out near the end of the day, it will bedue back the following morning.  Late fees are charged to studentswho do not return materials on time, thus ensuring they will beavailable to others in the class who need to view them.  One couldalso consider reserving one of the Media Services viewing rooms for anevening showing of the movie where all of the students in the classcould watch the video together.  For assistance with placing mediaon reserve and/or reserving a viewing room, please contact the Library Service Desk (
Other Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact your Library Liaison, your AIA, or Media Services.

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