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Copyright information and resources for NEOMED faculty, staff, & students.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) 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 This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. For more information see the United States Copyright Office website.

For more information on Administrative Policies established by NEOMED, please refer to the NEOMED Acceptable Use of Computing Resources Policy and File Sharing Security Rules located on the NEOMED intranet.

What Do U.S. Copyright Laws Say?

Copyright Act, 1976

The Copyright Act of 1976 was passed in order to accommodate for technological innovations and changes since the previous 1909 statute.  Although amendments have been made, it is the primary basis for copyright law today.  The Act covers the rights of the copyright holder and offers guidelines of Fair Use for users of copyrighted material.  For the text of the act and more information about it see the United States Copyright Office website. 

1989 Berne Convention

The Berne Convention added the agreement to the 1976 Copyright Law that materials did not require the © symbol on the document to be protected by copyright. All documents should be assumed as copyrighted until evidence to the contrary is located.

Digital Millennium Copyright Acts (DMCA)

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) implemented the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet Treaties; it established safe harbors for online services providers; permitted temporary copies of programs during computer maintenance, and made miscellaneous amendments to the Copyright Act, including amendments which facilitated Internet broadcasting.  Among the most controversial provisions of the DMCA is Section 1201.  For information on the DMCA, see the Association of Research Libraries summary page.

Technology in Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act)

Technology in Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH) updates copyright law and transmission of performances and displays of copyrighted materials in distance education. That being said, it has a broader scope than just distance education. The TEACH Act does not limit or otherwise alter the scope of the fair use doctrine. The TEACH Act requires adherence to the following guidelines:

  • The institution must be an accredited Nonprofit Educational Institution or Governmental Body;
  • The institution must post its copyright policy which specifies the standards that educators and others will follow when incorporating copyrighted works into distance education;
  • Within a Course Management System (CMS), copyrighted materials used for a course must be print disabled and download disabled;
  • Access to course materials must be limited to students who are formally enrolled in the course and be available only for the duration of the course.

Further information on the TEACH Act can be found at the ALA (American Library Association) TEACH Act website, or through the TEACH Act Toolkit provided by Louisiana State University Libraries.

Copyright Tools

Additional Sites on Copyright

Legal Disclaimer

The information on copyrighted materials provided by the library in this guide not intended to substitute for and should not be construed as legal advice. For legal questions, contact Maria Schimer, JD, NEOMED's Legal Counsel (330) 325-6356.