Have a question? Librarians are here to help.
PLEASE NOTE: The questions and answers below are examples only and are not meant to serve as legal advice. Though every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, for definitive answers regarding coyright, fair use, and plagiarism issues, please consult a certified copyright lawyer or contact one of Florida Tech's Patents and Copyrights Intellectual Property Committee Members.
Q: As an instructor, can I post a PDF of an entire Safari e-Book on ANGEL for my students to use?
A: No. According to Safari Books Online's Subscription Agreement, an instructor may post "up to 2 Sections of works" in a course for students' use. However, instructors can post a link to an e-Book, with students providing their TRACKS authorization to access the book online. See the Subscription Agreement for additional requirements and limitations.
Q: Can I post a PDF of my published article on my personal website?
A: That depends. When you are considering posting your own published works on your website, be sure to check the publisher's author guidelines first. SHERPA/RoMEO makes many publisher and journal guidelines available online in a searchable format, or go to the publisher's website and look for the Author's Rights section.
Most publishers reserve some rights, including the right for authors to post copies of their own works. Others allow authors to post preprint PDFs. Still others, like BioMed Central, the publisher of BMC Bioinformatics and other journals, license their articles with an Open Access license (identical to the Creative Commons Attribution License). According to the BioMed Central copyright and license agreement, anyone, including the author, is free "to copy, distribute, and display the work" as long as the original author is credited.
Q: Can I play copyrighted music that I have purchased for my face-toface class?
A: According to Section 110 of the U. S. Copyright Code, yes — as long as the music that you wish to play is legally made, is displayed under the supervision of the instructor, is related to the educational content of the course, and is played solely for the students enrolled in the course. However, posting copyrighted music tracks online for students to download, whether those students are in your face-to-face or online course, violates several stipulations, including that the educators prevent access to the materials beyond the scope of the course, i.e.: after the course has ended, or to persons not enrolled in the course. View the full text of the code from the U. S. Copyright Office site.
The databases below are a great place to begin researching copyright issues.
For general searching, here are some possible search terms:
FindLaw provides information, resources, and lawyer profiles. If you have questions about copyright, fair use, or intellectual property, consider seeking the advice of an intellectual property attorney.