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Copyright Resource Guide: Ottawa University Copyright FAQ's

A guide that provides direction and resources to faculty with regards to the application of the Teach Act, and to students with regard to intellectual property and photocopying.

Copyright FAQ's

Can copyrighted media be stored on the university’s server so faculty can embed links from the server in Blackboard course?


Context is vital.  The TEACH Act, which addresses the use of copyrighted materials for distance education, allowing for some storing of media on University servers so long as the material is being used for distance education transmissions and no further copies are being made from the stored copy.  The University needs to be in compliance with the various requirements of the TEACH Act though.


See Kenneth Crews' TEACH Act Overview:


Is it’s legal to link to YouTube videos from library web pages open to the world  when such videos come with a standard YouTube license?


It is technically illegal but, if discovered, it could be considered contributory infringement.  The legal rationale behind this is that you are contributing to someone else’s infringement, assuming that the linked content on YouTube is content uploaded without the copyright holder’s consent. To my knowledge, no one in higher education has been accused or convicted of this type of infringement.


Can streaming video content be linked to a course that is password protected without copyright permission? 

If the streaming video links are from a database licensed by the university library, then you can use them in a course without copyright permission. However, whether you are relying on TEACH or fair use, you must consider the amount of the work you are streamed, especially when determining if you should seek permission from a copyright holder or not. Even if you are streaming in a password protected environment, you must be aware that do not have free reign to stream an entire work.


A faculty member has asked that library to put a DVD of a feature film on reserve that he made from a library-owned VHS.  His students complained that they cannot play the VHS as easily as a DVD.  Is this a copyright problem?  The movie is not available in DVD format.


Yes, if a movie is in one format, it cannot be changed into a different format without the permission of the copyright holder.


Can a video or DVD be shown or placed online if the university not purchased public viewing rights?


Feature films viewing rights can be purchased through Swank. They have a discount plan that can be purchased for online films and streaming video for our distance courses. With films that you haven't purchased PPR for when you purchased the film, these rights can sometime be purchased after the fact for a wide variety of prices, terms and conditions.  The TEACH Act does provide protection for streaming films online for courses and to do this you do need to have a college copyright policy in effect.


Are there limits on the number of chapters allowed to be digitally uploaded and password protected so students don't have to purchase the entire book (this is especially useful in cases where I like to assign just one chapter from a book). Does Ottawa have a program that allows for a set amount of chapters to be uploaded?  This question is relevant in regards to how I would structure the reading lists for my online course proposals.


If the chapter/s out of a book are less than 10% of the book itself then you can digitize it and upload it to Blackboard for your class and the Fair Use rule applies. (Provided that that book/chapter you upload is not already available through the publisher in digital format for free.) What also helps the Fair Use argument is that the chapter/s would be uploaded online to Blackboard and it is password protected and available only to students in your classes.


The real difficulty is digitizing print materials—because that is where the violation comes in with the Teach Act, since you are changing formats---from print to digitized format.


Fair use also applies if this is done for only one semester and not more than that. After one semester, the university MUST secure permission from the publisher for the chapters to be used in the course.


Can podcasts from NPR be uploaded in a Blackboard course? What are the copyright issues that apply?

The TEACH Act states that the electronic classroom (e.g., Blackboard classes) has the same rights to use copyrighted materials as a physical classroom has.  This means that, for the most part, almost anything can be used within a password protected course management system such as Blackboard, as long as the use is limited to those taking that particular course. Aside from that, if the podcast is freely available to the public to download, there would not be any problems at all, particularly in a password-protected classroom.


I want my students to read about Understanding by Design and ASCD as a review of one of their chapters.  Their site on this is at


I want this to be an external link, however the copyright notice makes me a little hesitant.  It states:  © 1999 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. All rights reserved. Duplication of this publication is strictly prohibited. It may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from ASCD.I just want the students to click and read it over - on the ASCD website.  Is that against copyright law? 


There is no problem with you adding this link for students. The library buys a Membership in ASCD and renews it every year as part our Ebsco periodicals list and so you have every right to add this link as if it were one of our university database links. If you need to add a disclaimer to it then make a note that the Ottawa University Library/Community is a member of ASCD.


If an online course has any ASCAP music/media that does not meet with licensing regulations does an instructor need to make some changes, or will they need to request permission to use the music for their class from the composer(s)?

If they are not using ASCAP licensed music they would have to, unless they can get permission from the composer/publisher to use it for a class. Sometimes, a composer/musician is a member of ASCAP and they may then give ASCAP members the right to use their music. Since OU is an ASCAP member, they should be covered for those music items that are in plays that are created by ASCAP members and that are listed in the ASCAP index of music that is currently licensed by them.


What types of music does ASCAP license?

I do believe that the ASCAP license does not license music that is on a CD, tape, or as part of an audio-visual work such as a motion picture, video or TV program. Those rights are known as mechanical and synchronization ("synch") rights and are licensed by writers or publishers. It also does not license rights to make adaptations or arrangements.  Do you know if any of this currently applies to any of the items in the course?


Can the instructor use OU student music in their courses? Are they allowed to upload them without student permission.


For songs sung by OU students in theater classes, all that is needed is the student’s permission in writing that those could be used in future for upload in future to other OU online classes.



The university orchestra wants to make a copy of a score, but the publisher has gone out of business. How can we get a copy of the score since we want to play it in the next concert?


The library can investigate and find out who has taken over the publishing rights for the score or if it is currently being published elsewhere and get the necessary permissions so that contact can be made with the Library of Congress to make a copy of the score.


Is it necessary to post copyright signs at or near all OU office photocopiers? If so what sign should I post?


We are asking every office that has a photocopier on the Campus and University-wide to please make copies of this Copyright Notice below and place one on all Ottawa University photocopiers, as this is one of the requirements of the Copyright Act. The notice on copiers serves as a reminder to everyone to be mindful of the Copyright Compliance on their Campus when using the university’s photocopiers.



notice warning concerning copyright restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Any photocopy made may not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.”  If a user uses a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.




(FAQ's taken from Librarian Emails with faculty and colleagues regarding copyright)




Library Guru

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Danielle O'Barto
Gangwish Library
Ottawa University
1001 S. Cedar St.
Ottawa, KS 66067

Does Ottawa University have a Copyright Policy?

Ottawa University's Copyright Policy is still a Copyright Draft. It was put together by the Copyright Policy Committee which was created by the Library Advisory Board as a draft in 2009 and still needs to be vetted by Ottawa University's University-Wide Academic Council.

The Committee Members who discussed the Copyright Policy and put the draft below together are as follows:

Gloria Creed-Dikeogu, Director of Library Services

Karen Peterson, Bookstore Manager

Jan Lee, Associate Director of Library Services

Carine Ullom, Director, Office of Academic Technology

Donna Levene, Vice President for Regulatory & Government Affairs (Committee Chair)

Copyright Handouts