Copyright Infringement Policy

Copyright Infringement Policy

Arkansas Baptist College Copyright Compliance Policy

The Arkansas Baptist College Copyright Compliance Policy provides a summary of U.S. copyright law as it relates to the use of copyright-protected works in the classroom and library.

U.S. copyright law contains many gray areas. The goal of this policy is to provide administrators, faculty, librarians, students, employees, and others with a standard approach for addressing complex copyright issues. This policy covers issues such as photocopying and online education. It also covers library uses for print and electronic reserves, ILL, file sharing, and document delivery.

What is Copyright?

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 creators 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.

What is protected by Copyright?

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books, magazines, journals, newsletters, maps, charts, photographs, graphic materials, and other printed materials; unpublished materials, such as analysts’ and consultants’ reports; and non-print materials, including electronic content, computer programs and other software, sound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.

Fair Use

A provision for fair use is found in the Copyright Act at Section 107. Under the fair use provision, a reproduction of someone else’s copyright-protected work is likely to be considered fair if it is used for one of the following purposes: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. If the reproduction is for one of these purposes, a determination as to whether the reproduction is fair use must be made based upon four factors:

  • The purpose and character of use (principally, whether for commercial or nonprofit educational use);
  • The nature of the copyright-protected work;
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used; and
  • The effect of the use as it affects the value of the copyright-protected work.

The law does not state exactly what uses of a copyright-protected work will be considered fair uses under the law and may therefore be used without obtaining permission. As such, individuals who are not lawyers may often need to be interpreters of the law in everyday circumstances, and answers as to how much reproduction may be considered fair use often remain unclear. Fair use requires a very circumstance-specific analysis as to whether a particular use or reuse of a work may indeed be considered fair use.

To avoid confusion and minimize the risk of copyright infringement, the University 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; and
  • 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.


Types of Use

Classroom handouts. Based on XYZ’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.

Reserves. If the Arkansas Baptist College library owns a copy of a publication, 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.

Photocopying in the library. It is permissible to photocopy copyright-protected works in the Arkansas Baptist College library 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 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.
  • Replacement of lost, damaged, or obsolete copies.The library 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.
  • Library user requests for entire works. One reproduction of an entire book or periodical may be made by your 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 determining, 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.

Online Use

Instructors may post their own authored materials, such as lecture notes, tests, exercises, problem sets, and PowerPoint presentations. If material they wrote was published, they may have transferred the copyright to the publisher. In that case, it will be necessary to obtain permission from the publisher to post the material.

Materials from Arkansas Baptist College-licensed collections may be included in electronic reserves and course websites without any further permission by linking to a persistent URL. Material not protected by the Copyright Act may be made available on electronic reserves or on course websites without the permission of the copyright owner, such as works in the public domain, works of the U.S. government, and links to websites.


Compliance with copyright law is the responsibility of the individual. This is only a short introduction to copyright issues affecting students and faculty. Please see other resources such as the copyright book, Copyright Clarity by Renee Hobbs, Ed.D., for further discussion of fair use supporting digital learning. Dr. Hobbs is a leading authority on media literacy education and copyright law.