3.15.1 Copyright

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Chapter 3: Educational Procedure

Related Minnesota State Board Policy: 3.27 Copyrights
Related Minnesota State Board Procedure: 3.27.1 Copyright Clearance
Related Minnesota State Resource: Minnesota State Copyright Resource Page

Purpose:  To provide guidelines for adherence to the Copyright Revision Act of 1976, the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act of 2002, and Minnesota State policy and procedures.

Part 1: Materials which are Eligible for Copyright Protection

Original works from the following list are protected at the moment they were created, whether they bear the copyright symbol (©) or not.  Copyright protection is legally recognized for the life of the creator plus 50 years.

  • Literary works
  • Musical works, including words
  • Dramatic works, including music
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audio visual works
  • Sound recordings
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Part 2: Materials which are Not Eligible for Copyright Protection

There is no restriction on the use of these works:

  • Works in the public domain.  Works that were never eligible for copyright as well as those for which the copyright has expired.  In some cases, the creator may waive copyright protection, specifying that the work is to be placed in the public domain.
  • Works of the United States Government. 
  • Non-copyrightable works.  These include ideas, methods, systems, principles, common or standard works (e.g. calendar), devices, and blank forms.  Copyright protection does not apply to names, titles, or slogans. 
  • Statutory exceptions.  These include the exception for face-to-face teaching activities of non-profit groups and the exceptions for distance learning activities described in the TEACH Act.
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Part 3: Fair Use Materials

Limited use of copyrighted materials may not be an infringement of copyright.  The Copyright Law of 1976 outlines four factors to be used in determining fair use.  See Minnesota State’s online reference Guidelines: Determining Fair Use.

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Part 4: Guidelines for Copying Books and Periodicals

The 1976 Copyright Act sets specific limits on and defines the extent of permissible copying for use by an individual faculty or staff member or in a classroom.  See Minnesota State’s online reference Guidelines: for Copying Books and Periodicals.

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Part 5: Student Papers

Student papers and projects are considered copyrighted works.  They may not be reproduced without written permission from the student.  Removing the student’s name or otherwise preventing the author’s name from being known does not constitute copyright compliance.

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Part 6: The Copyright Principles Listed Above for Print Materials Also Apply to Non-print Materials

Subpart A:  Music
Copyrighted must material may be copied and used in the classroom under the following conditions.  See Minnesota State’s online reference Guidelines: the Use of Music Materials.


Subpart B: Performance of Copyrighted Works
The guidelines adhere to the specifications in the TEACH Act.  See Minnesota State’s online reference Guidelines: the Performance of Copyrighted Works .

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Part 7: Permissions

If a faculty or staff member wishes to use or make copies of a copyrighted work, permission must be obtained from the copyright owner.  Details of this process are described in the Minnesota State online reference Guidelines: Obtaining Permissions.

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Part8: Software and Electronic Works

See Minnesota State’s online publication Guidelines: for Use of Software and Electronic Works.

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Part 9: Distance Education

The TEACH Act of 2002 describes the lawful use of materials in distance education settings.  See Minnesota State’s publication Guidelines: the TEACH Act.

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  Procedure History:
Date of Adoption: 
Date of Implementation:
Date and Subject of Revisions:
Next Review Date: 
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