Copyright, Fair Use & Digital Rights Management
Resources for those interested in learning more about how copyright law impacts the use of print and digital media within education and workforce preparation settings. Other topics addressed in this section include:
- The Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, which makes changes to U.S. copyright law in order to align it with the requirements of the Marrakesh Treaty. The goal of this treaty is to increase access to printed materials to eligible persons around the world by making it easier for accessible versions of these materials to be exchanged across borders.
- The fair use exclusion in copyright statute, which permits some limited uses of copyrighted works without the need to secure permission from the copyright holder. The Fair Use: AIM Center Policy Brief may be helpful to educators interested in supporting learners who may benefit from diverse and alternative formats.
- Information regarding digital rights management, including the TEACH Act of 2002, which pertains to educational or military distance learning.
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 This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.
- Copyright Act & Copyright Term Extension Act
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
- Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010
- United States Copyright Office
- Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the U. S. Code
- Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. §121)
- IDEA Title III Amendment to Copyright (addition of large print to formats covered by Chafee)
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- EFF Teaching Copyright
- EFF Teaching Copyright Resource Page
- U.S. Public Law 105-304, 112 Stat. 2860, 2877. 28 October 1998. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Title II Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitations (amending chapter 5, Title 17 U.S.C. §512)
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- EFF Resource Page related to WIPO
- Copyright Clearance Center (CCC)
- Copyright Basics Video from the CCC
The Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act
With the president's signing of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (MTIA) on October 10, 2018, U.S. copyright law is amended to comply with the terms of the Marrakesh Treaty. The goal of this treaty is to make it easier for accessible versions of printed materials to be exchanged across borders in order to address the “global book famine." This is a situation where few published works (1-7% by one estimate from the World Blind Union) ever make it into accessible formats.
The MTIA makes some changes to U.S. copyright law to bring it into alignment with the language in the Marrakesh Treaty. More specifically, some of the definitions in Section 121 of the Copyright Act (the Chafee Amendment), are amended. Because Section 121 only applies to copyright use within the United States, the MTIA also adds a new Section 121A to address the cross-border aspects of the Marrakesh Treaty. Understanding the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, from the U.S. Copyright Office, provides a more detailed explanation of the changes the MTIA makes to U.S. copyright law.
For more on the Marrakesh Treaty and the MTIA, please see:
- The Treaty of Marrakesh Explained (World Intellectual Property Organization)
- The Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (Library of Congress Blog)
Educators often refer to the “fair use” exclusion in copyright statute as a means to provide materials to students who cannot use print-based materials effectively; however, the term and the exclusion are often used without sufficient knowledge of the elements upon which “fair use” is based. The four elements of “fair use” included in Section 107 of U. S. copyright code should be understood along with the limitations that apply to its use.
- Fair Use: AIM Center Policy Brief
- University of Minnesota Libraries Copyright Tools
- Copyright Decision Map
- Fair Use Analysis tool—four factor review of your proposed use
- NCTE Code of Best Practice in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education
- Wikipedia Fair Use page with reference to relevant case law
Digital Rights Management
- Rule-Making on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works
- Electronic Frontier Foundation DRM resource
- Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH ACT) of 2002: The TEACH Act provides clarification and expansion of privileges for distance learning. Although many requirements must be met, the Act, when coupled with application of fair use, makes life a bit easier for distance learning providers, faculty, and students.
Copyright Law Amendment allowing authorized entities to reproduce previously published work for use by blind or other persons with disabilities.View in glossary
Fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research is not an infringement of copyright.View in glossary
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Authorizing technologies implemented by rights holders and publishers to limit the distribution and use of proprietary content.View in glossary
Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.View in glossary