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Copyright - What Is Allowed and How Much Can I Use?: Home

This one page guide will spell out what copyright laws extend to usage for reproduction of materials - books and multimedia.

HOW MUCH CAN I USE AND/OR REPRODUCE?

Under the “fair use” rule of copyright law, a person may make limited use of another author’s work without asking permission. As noted in the Fair Use Checklist box:

"There's no one right answer as to what constitutes a "fair use" of a particular copyrighted work. The answer varies from situation to situation."

So with this in mind please use these guidelines as a suggested starting point and be sure to fill out a checklist in order to establish correct copyright use. The following content amounts are within current copyright laws. 

Print Materials:

  • A single chapter from a book (5% of work for in print; 10% of work for out of print)
  • A single article from a journal issue or newspaper
  • A short story, essay, or poem from an individual work.
  • A chart, diagram, graph, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, journal, magazine, or newspaper.

Distributing Copies

  • Copies made should not substitute the purchase of books, journals, etc.
  • Always provide a copyright notice on the first page of the copied material. At bare minimum your notice should state: "Notice: This material is subject to the copyright law of the United States."
  • Provide only one copy per student.
  • Copying the works for subsequent semesters requires copyright permission from the publisher.

Using Materials Found on the Internet

  • Always credit the source
  • If you are using the information on your personal webpage ask permission or simply link to the site
  • If you receive permission to use the material keep a copy for your records

Using Multimedia

Multimedia works are created by combining copyrighted elements such as movies, music, sounds, graphics, and text. It is recommended that you use only small portions of other people's works.

Suggested limits:

  • Movies: Up to 10% or three minutes, whichever is less
  • Text: Up to 10% or 1,000 words, whichever is less. (The limits on poetry are more restrictive.)
  • Music: Up to 10% of an individual copyrighted musical composition. 10% of a copyrighted musical composition on a sound recording. However, no more than 30 seconds may be used without gaining permission from the copyright owner and/or publisher.
  • Photos and Illustrations: Based on the below guidelines, "a photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety, but no more than five images by one artist or photographer may be incorporated into any one multimedia program. From a published collective work, not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, may be used."

Subject Guide

Joy Dlugosz