Copyright Guide
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 Copyright Guide

  • Copyright Basics
  • Copyright - Work for Hire
  • Fair Use vs. Public Domain
  • Images & Media
  • Extra Resources
  • Creative Commons/OER
​Why Copyright Matter​s​​

​Information is everything. It points the way​ to advances in science and medicine, innovations in business and technology and achievements in education and the arts. The cost of research, writing and editing is substantial and the efforts often Herculean. Some books are the result of years of individual effort; others are the product of ground-breaking collaboration. Either way, without the protections guaranteed by our copyright laws, many of the works we enjoy and rely upon today would never exist.​ ​​​​​​​​​

Watch the videos below, on YouTube, to get a better understanding.​​

​What is a copyright?

Much of the information in this section was drawn from content posted on the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office and is based on the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. T​he information appears here in an edited form. For the complete, unedited text visit:


In the United States, copyright is a form of protection provided by the government to the authors of "original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works." This protection is available to both published and unpublished works, regardless of the nationality or domicile of the author. It is unlawful for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by copyright law to the owner of the copyright.
Use the tabs above to understand the following concepts.
  • When Copyright Occurs
  • Registration & Other Requirements
  • Duration of Copyright
  • Public Domain
  • Fair Use
  • The First Sale Doctrine
  • Infringing Copyright
  • "International" Copyright
  • Copyright and Academia
  • What is Copyright-Protected?
The above information is provided by CCC with permission.
​Duration of Copyrighted Works

Copyright protection stays with the author for the duration of his/her life, + 70 years after they die. There are certain special cases for works previous to 1978. For more information see this document from ​

Copyright Law for the Work you do @ Work​​

Copyright Law: Work For Hire Section 107 states that any works/research created by an employee is the ownership of the employer. Since the employer has provided the means to develop/create the work, the end results/data and copyright to this information is retained by the employer whereas the employee/researcher owns the intellectual​ property.  For the complete law click the link below.
More Questions? ​​

Check out this resource from the University of Texas librarians: Who Owns What? Copyright Crash Course​​​​
​Fair Use​​
Fair use is a concept embedded in U.S. law that recognizes that certain uses of copyright-protected works do not require permission from the copyright holder or its agent. These include instances of minimal use that do not interfere with the copyright holder's exclusive rights to reproduce and reuse the work. Fair use is not an exception to copyright compliance; it is more of a "legal defense." That is, if you copy and share a copyright-protected work and the copyright holder claims copyright infringement, you may be able to assert a defense of fair use which you would then have to prove.
Please see more information continued at The U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index or Stanford University's website on Fair Use.

The above information is provided by CCC & GWCC librarians with permission.
​ ​ ​​​​​​​
​Copyright for Faculty Scenarios​​
Common copyright scenarios for Faculty This link is from California State University of Long Beach Library. You can find very great information on it about how copyright effects faculty. ​​​
​Public Domain​​
Where is the Public Domain?  
Reasons that the work is not protected include:

  • The term of copyright has expired. See "Duration of Copyright" under the Copyright Basics tab.
  • The author failed to meet the requirements to have the work protected.
  • The work was created by the U.S. Government​​
Copyright Terms
A detailed table indicating Copyright protection terms and Public Domain status can be found at Cornell's Copyright Information Center, linked below.
Material available on or through other websites (including Google Image Search) may be protected by copyright. Look for images in the public domain or Creative Commons where the owners have granted permission for use. The following list of resources give some examples - if you aren't sure if you have rights to an image, then it may be best to try to find one from these resources. ​​
Library Resources​​
For additional resources available for your use in Canvas, access CGCC's Library eResources! 

Persistent Linking
This guide gives instructions on how to add CGCC Library's eBook and streaming video content to your remote or online teachingAdding Library Digital Content to Online Learning 2020.pdfAdding Library Digital Content to Online Learning 2020.pdf

In addition to the rich content provided by the CGCC Library's databases, their additional features include: 

  1. Public Performance Rights: You can show the film in online or face-to-face classes or at a college-sponsored event, without violating copyright.
  2. Transcripts and Closed Captioning: The streaming videos/films include transcripts and closed captioning. These are ADA-compliant accessibility tools required by MCCCD for media content used in instruction regardless of the modality.
  3. Translate and Listen: Some database vendors include LISTEN and TRANSLATE tools for the HTML editions of the articles. These tools support English as a Second Language and students with audio learning preferences. 

​Images on the Web​​
Art Images for College Teaching

Art Images for College Teaching (AICT) began as a personal project dedicated to the principle of free exchange of image resources for and among members of the educational community. While the AICT site is maintained and distributed under the general auspices of the Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD), this institution is not responsible for content or use thereof. All work on the AICT project has been voluntary, and MCAD-affiliated personnel have contributed innumerable hours of research, clerical, and design effort on a pro-bono basis. Use of the images displayed on this website has also been contributed on a non-royalty basis for the public good.

AICT certifies that the image copies provided hereunder, the originals being the copyrighted intellectual property of art historian and photographer Allan T. Kohl (unless otherwise credited), are licensed for non-profit use as set forth below, and that the art and architectural works documented are, to the best of its knowledge, within the public domain.

Flickr Creative Commons

Photo sharing website with images for just about any topic.​

Life Photo Archive

Copyrighted images from LIFE magazine, under Fair Use, may be used for educational purposes, just not any commercial use. Search millions of photographs from the archive from the 1750s to today.  

Life, Your World in Pictures

Another resource to find LIFE pictures from Time & Getty Images, the two most recognized names in photography.

Morgue File

Free images for creatives, by creatives.

NIGMS Image Gallery

Searchable database of photos, illustrations, and videos from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Permission is granted to use these images for educational, news media, or research purposes, provided the source for each image is credited.


Free stock photos.

Wikimedia Commons

A searchable database of close to 3 million free digital media files. Type your search term(s) in the Search files on Commons box. Click on a photo and scroll down to read the citation and copyright information. 

​Software Licensing Web Sites
Don't Copy That 2 (Official Sequel to Don't Copy that Floppy) For your viewing pleasure.
  • SIIA
    The Software & Information Industry Association
Copyright Tutorials
  • Copyright Crash Course
    The Copyright Crash Course was created by Georgia Harper and is currently maintained by UT Libraries. Great for Faculty.
  • Fair Use Checklist
    The Fair Use Checklist and variations on it have been widely used for many years to help educators, librarians, lawyers, and many other users of copyrighted works determine whether their activities are within the limits of fair use under U.S. copyright law (Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act).
  • Taking the Mystery Out Of Copyright
    Resource for K-12 teachers and organizations. By the Library of Congress.
  • The Copyright Genie
    Consult the Copyright Genie by Michael Brewer & ALA office for Information Technology (2012)
Copyright Websites
  • Know Your Copy Right
    A website resource for using copyrighted works in academic settings. We can find ways to determine need for Campus Outreach.
  • Maricopa Community College District Intellectual Property Website
    Nearly every form of tangible expression (books, drawings, software, etc.) is subject to some sort of copyright protection. This site offers legal and District-wide guidelines on copyright protection, including direction on when (under the Fair Use Doctrine) copyrighted materials may be duplicated.
  • The Original TEACH Act Toolkit
    TEACH was intended to update the section of the copyright act (specifically, Section 110(2)) most applicable to online digital course. Thus, TEACH is not a separate or additional copyright law; it simply replaces an already existing section.
U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright Myth vs. Reality on the Web​

Any works found on the Internet is "public domain" All works found on the web are protected by copyright law.  Exception is U.S. government publications
I can use an image from another work in my publication Permission from the copyright holder should be obtained before using an image in another work.
If it doesn’t have a copyright notice, it’s not copyrighted. Works created in the U.S. after April 1, 1989 do not require a copyright notice.
I can use any content from an email someone sent to me Copyright of the content belongs to the sender and you should obtain permission from the sender before publishing the content.
I can make multiple copies of a single work as long as it is for classroom use. Generally speaking, one copy may be allowable under Fair Use guidelines, but making multiple copies may exceed Fair Use.
If an item is out-of-print it is in the public domain. An item may be out-of-print yet still copyrighted. Consult When Does Copyright Expire and the Work Enter the Public Domain to check whether an item is in the public domain.
As long as attribution is provided then it is ok to use part of a work for my research paper.​ Attribution is not a substitute for seeking permission from the copyright holder.
Also see 10 Big Myths About Copyright Explained, by Brad Templeton (2008). ​​​​​​
Creative Commons​​
Green Creative Commons Logo  
​OER (Open Educational Resources)​​

Monica Johnson, Library Faculty collaborated with the CTLA in the creation with this site. The information in this website is not to substitute legal documents which can be found on and the Copyright Clearance Center but is rather a reference guide for general rules. ​