Copyright Policy

This policy is based on a sample posted at the Copyright Clearance Center’s site.
Institutions are allowed to use it with acknowledgment.
In addition, policies and comments from librarians at these institutions have been consulted: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Phillips Theological Seminary, Northern Seminary, Duke University, Sacred Heart School of Theology.
The purpose of the St John’s Seminary (SJS) Copyright Compliance Policy: Library and Classroom is to provide a summary of U.S. copyright law as it relates to the use of text-based copyright-protected works in the classroom and libraries at SJS, and to provide guidelines and procedures for obtaining copyright permission to use these works. Ultimately, faculty at each academic institution are expected to approach the copyright issue as one of risk management since the law (as opposed to various guidelines) does not specify in detail what is legal and what is not.
U.S. copyright law contains many gray areas, and the goal of this policy is to provide SJS administrators, faculty, librarians, students, employees and others with a standard approach for addressing complex copyright issues. This policy covers classroom issues such as photocopying, online education, and coursepacks. It also covers library uses for print and electronic reserves and interlibrary loan.
This policy provides practical advice and procedures on copyright-related matters; however, it is not a substitute for legal advice, and proper legal advice should be obtained when necessary. The Director of Libraries keeps records of all copyright permissions pertaining to course reserves and interlibrary loans. She may be able to assist you with any questions you may have about copyright in the classroom.
Copyright is an area of law that provides creators and distributors of creative works with an incentive to share their works by granting them the right to be compensated when others use those works in certain ways. Specific rights are granted to the originators of creative works in the U.S. Copyright Act (title 17, U.S. Code). If you are not a copyright holder for a particular work, as determined by the law, you must ordinarily obtain copyright permission prior to reusing or reproducing that work. However, there are some specific exceptions in the Copyright Act for certain academic uses, and permission is never required for certain other actions, such as reading or borrowing original literary works or photographs from a library collection.
The rights granted by the Copyright Act are intended to benefit "authors" of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural and audiovisual creations. This means that virtually any creative work that you may come across—including books, magazines, journals, newsletters, maps, charts, photographs, graphic materials, and other printed materials; unpublished materials; and non-print materials, including electronic content, computer programs and other software, sound recordings, motion pictures, video files, sculptures, and other artistic works—is almost certainly protected by copyright. Among the exclusive rights granted to those "authors" are the rights to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and publicly display their works.
These rights provide copyright holders control over the use of their creations and an ability to benefit, monetarily and otherwise, from the use of their works. Copyright also protects the right to "make a derivative work," such as a movie from a book; the right to include a work in a collective work, such as publishing an article in a book or journal; and the rights of attribution and integrity for "authors" of certain works of visual art. Copyright law does not protect ideas, data or facts.
In the U.S., the general rule of copyright duration for a work created on or after January 1, 1978 is the author's life plus 70 years after the author's death. This is often referred to as "life-plus-70". Works created by companies or other types of organizations generally have a copyright term of 95 years. For more information on copyright duration, visit
This section on fair use is directly from the United States Copyright Office web site ( :
One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright law (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.
Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:
1.The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
2.The nature of the copyrighted work
3.The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
4.The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. The weight of the fourth factor, almost always significant in academic settings, is not in itself sufficient for a defense against infringement. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.
It is recommended that faculty make use of the copyright tool at this location: . When you have completed an evaluation, you can save a PDF copy in your files so that the seminary has evidence of having applied the fair use policy in case of dispute
To avoid confusion and minimize the risk of copyright infringement, SJS interprets the following situations as fair use:
•Quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work for illustration or clarification of the author's observations.
•Reproduction of material for classroom use where the reproduction is unexpected and spontaneous – for example, where an article in the morning's paper is directly relevant to that day's class topic. This would generally cover one time use in only one semester.
•Use in a parody of short portions of the work itself.
•A summary of an address or article, which may include quotations of short passages of the copyright-protected work.
If your use does not meet the above criteria and the work is protected by copyright, you probably need to obtain permission to use the work from the copyright holder or its agent.
You do not need permission to show in class for educational purposes any video/DVD owned by the seminary libraries, nor do you need copyright permission to show a movie which you own personally or which you have rented for personal use. The intention, however, must be educational and not for entertainment.
Classroom Handouts
Based on the seminary’s fair use analysis, classroom handouts fall into two categories; one that requires permission and one that does not. If the handout is a new work for which you could not reasonably be expected to obtain permission in a timely manner and the decision to use the work was spontaneous, you may use that work without obtaining permission. However, if the handout is planned in advance, repeated from semester to semester, or involves works that have existed long enough that one could reasonably be expected to obtain copyright permission in advance, you must obtain copyright permission to use the work.
If you need assistance in locating the copyright holder, contact the SJS librarian or the Copyright Clearance Center which can assist with one-time only permissions.
Coursepacks should not be substitutes for anthologies. Contents should be limited to single chapters from books, single articles from a journal issue, several charts or illustrations, and other similarly small parts of a work. Include any copyright notice on the original and all citations and attributions to sources. If the coursepack materials are to be used more than once by the same instructor for the same class, permission is required from the holders of the copyright.
When ordering coursepacks individual faculty are responsible for obtaining permission for reproduction when such is required.
If the SJS libraries own a copy of a publication or video/DVD, the library may place that copy on reserve without obtaining copyright permission. If the library wishes to reproduce additional copies of a work and place them on reserve for students to review, in either
paper or electronic format, the library must obtain copyright permission. Books obtained through interlibrary loan cannot be placed on reserve.
Photocopying In The Library
It is permissible to photocopy copyright-protected works in the SJS libraries without obtaining permission from the copyright owner, under the following circumstances:
•Library user requests for articles and short excerpts. At the request of a library user or another library on behalf of a library user, the SJS library may make one reproduction of an article from a periodical or a small part of any other work. The reproduction must become the property of the library user, and the library must have no reason to believe that the reproduction will be used for purposes other than private study, scholarship and research..
•Archival reproductions of unpublished works. Up to three reproductions of any unpublished work may be made for preservation or security or for deposit for research use in another library or archive. This may be a photocopy or digital reproduction. If it is a digital reproduction, the reproduction may not be made available to the public outside the library or archive premises. Prior to receiving any of the three reproductions permitted under this provision from another library or archive, the SJS libraries must make a reasonable effort to purchase a new replacement at a fair price. The reproducing library or archive must also own the work in its collection.
•Replacement of lost, damaged or obsolete copies. The SJS libraries may make up to three reproductions, including digital reproductions, of a published work that is lost, stolen, damaged, deteriorating or stored in an obsolete format. Any digital reproductions must be kept within the confines of the library (that is, available on its computers but not placed on a public network).
•Library user requests for entire works. One reproduction of an entire book or periodical may be made by the library at a library user's request, or by another library on behalf of a library user upon certain conditions being met. These conditions include the library’s determination after reasonable investigation that an authorized reproduction cannot be obtained at a reasonable price. Once made, the reproduction must become the property of the library user. The library must have no reason to believe that the reproduction will be used by the user for purposes other than private study, scholarship and research, and the library must display the register's notice at the place library users make their reproduction requests to the library.
Register's Notice
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproductions. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user requests or uses a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. A library or archive may refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve a violation of copyright law.
Photocopying by students is subject to a fair use analysis as well. A single photocopy of a portion of a copyright-protected work, such as a copy of an article from a journal made for research, may be made without permission. Photocopying all the assignments from a book recommended for purchase by the instructor, making multiple copies of articles or book chapters for distribution to classmates, or copying material from consumable workbooks, all require permission.
The SJS libraries may participate in interlibrary loans without obtaining permission provided that the "aggregate quantities" of articles or items received by the patron do not substitute for a periodical subscription or purchase of a work. SJS follows the CONTU (Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works ) guidelines ( for defining "aggregate quantities." The CONTU guidelines state that requesting and receiving more than five articles from a single periodical within a calendar year or a total of six or more copies of articles published within five years prior to the date of request would be too many under CONTU. In such cases, the library is obligated to purchase its own subscription to the journal.
If the articles or items being copied have been obtained through a digital license, the librarian must check the license to see under what terms and conditions, if any, interlibrary loan is permitted.
Course Management Systems
In 2002, the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act became law and expanded the latitude academic institutions have for the performance and display of copyright-protected materials in a distance education environment, including through the use of course management systems (CMS), such as Moodle.
The copyright requirements for TEACH and CMS postings are similar to those of classroom handouts, but extend the traditional rules for those handouts to the digital transmission of materials to off campus students. If the use is spontaneous and will not be repeated, copyright permission is not required; however, the content may not remain posted for extended periods of time. If the use is planned, repeated or involves works that have existed long enough that one could reasonably expect to receive a response to a request for copyright permission, you must obtain copyright permission.
Furthermore, such publications which faculty have received permission to use in a CMS must be protected by a password and available only to registered students in that professor’s class. Such publications may not be posted online for more than one term without securing permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright and Foreign Works
The U.S. is a member of the leading international copyright treaty, the Berne Convention. As such, when SJS uses a copyright-protected work from another country, the protections provided to works by U.S. copyright law automatically apply to the use of that work as well (assuming the use takes place in the U.S.).
Permission to use copyright-protected materials, when required, should be obtained prior to using those materials. It is best to obtain permission in writing (e-mail is acceptable). The time to obtain permission may vary and, where possible, it is recommended to start the permissions procedure at least six months prior to the time that you wish to use the materials. If you need a quicker permission, let the copyright owner know this and he/she may be able to get back to you more quickly.
Fact Finding Questions
Once you have identified the materials you want to use and determined that copyright permission is required, you must locate the copyright holder. If the copyright holder is not listed on the work, locating the appropriate person or entity to grant permission may take some investigative work. In such cases, the librarian can assist you in locating copyight holders and securing permissions.
The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress ( may be of assistance in locating a copyright owner if the work is registered. Note, however, that copyright is automatically granted to all works upon their being written down and that registration with the Copyright Office is not required.
There are two primary options for obtaining permission to use the work. You may contact the copyright holder directly or you may contact the Copyright Clearance Center ( ).
Information in your Permission Request
The copyright holder or its agent will require the following information in order to provide you with permission:
•Title of the material
•Creator/author of the material
•Publisher of the material
•Description of material
•ISBN or ISSN, if applicable
•Date of publication, if applicable
•Purpose for which you wish to reproduce the item (research, commercial, educational, etc.)
•How the material is to be reproduced (e.g., photocopied, digitized)
•Where the reproduced material will be used or will appear and for how long
If you suspect that anyone at SJS, including a student, is using any copyright-protected material without the permission of the copyright holder, immediately report this to the Academic Office.
The current version of The St. John’s Seminary Copyright Compliance Policy: Library and Classroom was created on April 4, 2011.
Additional Information may be found at these web sites:
Click here for assistance in conducting a fair use analysis for any item you would like to use in class.