Copyright law can be found in Title 17 of the U.S. Code. Congress originally enacted a copyright law at the end of the 18th century, and the law has been amended several times. Copyrights of all types of works are governed by the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress.
Without obtaining the consent of the copyright owner, copyrighted works generally are protected from use by others. However, the copyright law allows the "fair use" of copyrighted works if certain criteria are met. The "fair use" doctrine is extensively used in educational settings. The law provides four criteria for evaluating fair use:
Section 110(1) of the Copyright Law allows for the performance and display of copy-righted works under certain conditions in a face-to face classroom setting. The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act (section 101(2) of the copyright law) allows certain uses of copyrighted works by digital transmission in non-profit educational settings.
This Subject Guide provides guidance on copyright law and the resources provided by the Library in assessing copyright issues. The Guide does not provide legal advice and should not be taken as such.