Los Angeles Pierce College
When using a course management system, it is the responsibility of the individual faculty to determine the legality of distributing materials protected by copyright. While the law does not make distinction between electronic and paper, its requirements for different media can vary. As a result, distributing films, music, and other formats can create unique circumstances.
Copyright has a time limit, after which, the information is free to be transformed and distributed in any way necessary. This temporal limit is known as the public domain and is generally applicable to anything published before 1923, although this date moves each year. U.S. Federal publications are also in the public domain.
Many online materials are available through the Creative Commons license. While not everything in the commons is open to redistribution, Creative Commons enables many authors to allow public use of their works, usually with attribution, in non-profit ways.
As often as possible, materials should distributed by linking to the Pierce College Library Databases. The Pierce College Library dedicates a considerable amount of its budget to license articles and electronic e-books for the use of the campus community. Linking allows the library to track usage of these materials; subscriptions that do not receive a significant amount of use are subject to cancelation.
Often, when considering whether it is lawful to distribute materials, a fair use analysis is necessary. Fair Use (Section 107) is an exception to copyright that allows for sharing copyrighted materials without the copyright holders permission.
Whenever a claim of Fair Use is made, materials must be clearly attributed with a copyright notice. In addition to proper attribution, these works must be accessible only to enrolled students behind a password protected site and only for a limited time.
If you have any questions, please contact Clay Gediman at the Pierce College Library.