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What is Copyright?

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, it is:

"A form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for 'original works of authorship,' including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. 'Copyright' literally means the right to copy but has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, title, principle, or discovery. Similarly, names, titles, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, coloring, and listings of contents or ingredients are not subject to copyright."

Librarian / Copyright Advisor

Sandra Brown's picture
Sandra Brown

Copyright Online

The doctine of “fair use"  in U.S. Copyright law lists 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.

These uses are powerful, but not unrestricted.  The guidelines below will help explain the restrictions on fair use.
Four factors must be considered when evaluating Fair Use. Each of the four factors must be weighed in order to determine fair use.*

1. PURPOSE: The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; The balance tips toward fair use when use is educational and non-profit, not commercial.

2. NATURE: The nature of the copyrighted work; The balance tips in favor of fair use for published, factual, nonfiction material; the reverse is true for unpublished*or highly creative work (music, novels).

3. AMOUNT: The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; The balance tips in favor of fair use when a portion is small, not central to the work, and tailored to the exact educational purpose intended.

4. MARKET: The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The balance tips in favor of fair use when a legal copy is owned and use doesn't significantly impair sales.

Fair Use Helps

Fair Use Evaluator developed by ALA’s Office for Information Technology, modified for Lee College.

Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials from Copyright Crash Course, University of Texas Libraries

Fair Use Checklist from Columbia University Libraries 

TEACH Act Helps

TEACH = The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002

The TEACH Act facilitates and enables the performance and display of copyrighted materials for distance education by accredited, non-profit educational institutions that meet the Act's qualifying requirements.

The TEACH Act from Copyright Crash Course, University of Texas Libraries

Exceptions for Instructors in U.S. Copyright Law developed by the ALA Office of Information Technology

A Brief Guide to the TEACH Act (PDF)

Copyright Basics: The TEACH Act



E-Reserve services are available for materials that you would like to have placed on electronic reserves for your students to access online through the library catalog. ‚ÄčInstructors can submit their electronic reserves requests for chapters of books and journal articles by completing a  Reserve Request Form.

Streaming Films for Courses

These vendors have access to numerous streaming of documentaries and feature films by most major film studios. To access off-campus, use the same Lee College ID and password you use to log in to BlackBoard to access e-resources. To order films, send request to

Digital Campus (SWANK)

Criterion Pictures

Films on Demand


Netflix Educational Documentaries 

Submit film request to Please allow two weeks for sourcing and licensing.

Use of Other Resources - Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.

The Licenses

CC offers six core licenses, each of which grants a different set of permissions:

BY: This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the work, even commercially, as long as they credit the original creator. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered.

: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the work even for commercial purposes, as long as they provide attribution and license their new creations under the identical terms. All new works will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.

: This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the original creator.

: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge the original creator and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as they credit the original creator and license their new creations under the identical terms.

: This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download the works and share them with others as long as they provide attribution, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.