Brown Library Copyright Policy

This policy and is not intended to be read as legal advice but rather as guidelines for those looking for assistance with (a) Understanding copyright and other intellectual property issues, and (b) the University of St. Francis Library’s policies and procedures as they pertain to copyright, intellectual property and the reproduction of creative works. If further help is needed, USF librarians will provide insight and research assistance toward answering specific copyright questions. This policy and procedures manual is written in "Question and Anwer" format, and is applicable to all persons intending to use library materials and/or access to reproduce the work of others on behalf of curricular and non-curricular activities occurring at The University of St. Francis (hereinafter, “USF”) in Joliet, IL. Brown Library Archives materials, as a subset of the Brown Library, are also covered by this document. It is not advised that any USF constituent disregard the direction givenin this general copyright policy. Doing so subjects the infringer and the University to unnecessary risk and liability.


Title 17 of U.S. Code specifies Copyright Law and limits the making and dissemination of reproductions of copyrighted material.

Brown Library makes the good faith effort to work within copyright allowances granted to it as an institution of higher learning under Copyright Law and the Fair Use guidelines. Library users who abuse copyright or make reproductions beyond Fair Use may be liable for copyright infringement.

The Univeristy of St. Francis Library maintains the right to refuse copying of any material if doing so would, in its judgment, be in violation of Copyright Law.

For more information on Copyright Law, how to determine the rights of a work, or just how to teach and stay within the allowances of copyright please see the links available under the Other Resources tab.


For the purposes of this document, the term “reproducer” will denote any individual or parties subject to US Copyright Law due to their reproduction (in analog or digital form) of intellectual work owned by someone other than themselves.

It is important for individuals to realize that copyright law is related to the reproduction of original works. Copyright law does not govern the theft or misrepresentation of others’ intellectual property—only the copying of significant pieces or entire works. All persons who copy the works of others are considered to be "reproducers" of works.


Brown Library staff will not provide, or pay for, copyright clearance for reproduction on your behalf. We will advise and direct you in the proper direction for obtaining copyright clearance, and will work with you closely to obtain permission for your needs to teach with copyrighted material. This document is prepared to educate you on our policies regarding copyright law and Fair Use in educational settings. If you have questions or comments regarding this document or any USF copyright policies and procedures, please contact Brown library staff directly at, or 815-740-5041.

USF treats copyright compliance seriously. Copyright in the United States is a financial, ethical and legal issue related to all US citizens and creators of original works. Brown Library staff will report any known copyright violations (by staff) to appropriate deans and vice presidents, after advising the copyright infringer to cease and desist and receiving non-compliance in three calendar days. USF students will be reported to their instructor(s) in 24 hours, if infringement is not corrected.


Fair Use is most commonly analyzed via the following four factors:

  1. What the purpose is of your reproduction efforts (commercial or educational).
  2. The amount of the original work you intend to reproduce.
  3. The nature, form and function of the piece of information you wish to reproduce.
  4. How the reproduction you make affects the current market for the original work.


It is the theory that allows a reproducer to copy for non-commercial purposes—at the moment of inspiration, when there is no time to seek permission. Currently, University of St. Francis holds the following as guidelines of spontaneous Fair Use. One-time, non-permissive copying of:

  • A single book chapter (that is less than 10% of the total book itself) for use in one semester.
  • A single or collection of audio-visual segments that total less than 10% of one total audio or video recording for use in one semester.
  • One to three articles from any one periodical issue for use in one semester.
"Spontaneous" Fair Use covers:
  1. One semester only, and one single instance only.
  2. Any combination of material type.


Parody is one unique area that reproducers of copyright works may wish to explore. Parody is linked to Fair Use in the sense that in order to ridicule a piece of intellectual property (through humor), one must utilize a substantial amount of the original work. In other words, in order to adequately ridicule a work, it is difficult for a reproducer to not copy almost the entire creative nature of a work. Parody allows reproducers a heightened level of Fair Use in the sense that it allows them to copy and display copyrighted materials without first seeking permission, and it allows greater eventual defense under Fair Use guidelines. Parody claims should never be used as an excuse for reproducing copyrighted work, if ridicule and criticism were never the original intent of the copying of a work. It is notable, however, that students, faculty and staff alike have an increased ability to copy works (at will) if parody is the cause for reproduction.


Any sharing of copyrighted materials (music, movies, images, games, etc.) on the University of St. Francis network is a violation of both the University’s Technology Use Policy and the United States Copyright Act, and may result in disciplinary action up to and including the suspension of a user’s network account, and/or criminal prosecution under state and federal statutes.

Students using their computers as servers for sharing materials can and will have their network connections turned off.

Although using file-sharing software,such as KaZaA or Morpheus, is not illegal itself, distributing copyrighted material without permission is. Many do not realize that this file-sharing software may turn your personal computer into a server, or upload site, even if that was not your intent. Unfortunately, you are still legally responsible.

The University of St. Francis strongly encourages users to remove all file-sharing software from your system. At the very least, it is imperative that the file sharing capability of these systems be disabled. Learn how to Disable Peer-to-Peer File Sharing.


There are many legal sources for copyrighted material such as music and movies; some are free and some charge a nominal fee.

Legal Downloading Resources.

Learn more about the University’s Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policy.


  1. I made a copy of a video I rented from Netflix. Now, the library will not accept it as a reserve. Why?

    The Brown Library will not accept the copy, and the copy itself is illegal unless you have been given permission to make it. The copy that you make is a reproduction. Reproduction, without permission, is what breaks copyright law for the creator of the material. The reproduction might also break any licenses Netflix carries to lease the copyrighted material.

  2. Why do authors sometimes need permission to copy works they wrote?

    When publications are made, sometimes, owners give their copyright away to publishers. Even though an author’s name appears on a particular work, and they are given “voice” credit for its creation, if the author gives copyright to his or her publisher then the publisher also needs to be asked permission to reproduce the material.

  3. I want to copy six chapters from a book published in 1900; can I do this for one of my classes?

    The purpose of the reproduction lends the use and display of the material more toward Fair Use in this case. All works created before 1923 are part of the US public domain and seeking copyright for their reproduction is not needed.

  4. I want to use library reserves for my face-to-face classes and training sessions. Do I need permission from the copyright holder for this reproduction?

    The person seeking to reproduce materials in a course environment must seek permission for reserve materials (or for in-class distribution) when items submitted do not meet the “spontaneous Fair Use” guidelines or the number of checkboxes on the “Fair Use Checklist Analysis Before Using Copyrighted Materials” (hereinafter, “Fair Use Checklist”) shows the reproduction to be more against Fair Use than in favor

  5. I wish to copy a chapter from a book, but it is out of print. Do I need permission from the copyright holder for this reproduction?

    If the results of the Fair Use Checklist indicate your reproduction is more against Fair Use, you will have to contact the copyright holder no matter how difficult obtaining permission may be. Out-of-print works may still be protected by copyright law as their print status is separate from their intellectual value and uniqueness.

  6. I would like to show a film outside of a classroom in an auditorium or studio theatre. May I do this?

    If public performance rights are purchased, then the showing is permissible. If the results of the Fair Use Checklist indicate your reproduction is more in favor of Fair Use, the showing is permissible. In this case it is important to remember that public performance rights given by film distributors will govern actions in this scenario. Many popular entertainment videos do not allow public performance rights, or they are provided as a different purchasing option.

  7. No copyright notice on material means it is not copyrighted, correct?

    Copyright law applies to any work at the moment of creation. The actual copyright notice or symbol is never required in order to “give” copyright to an owner of a particular work. The reproducer must determine copyright ownership by contacting the publisher of the work, or by contacting the library for research into this area.

  8. I obtained copyright permission last semester. Why do I need to do it again?

    If the results of the Fair Use Checklist indicate your reproduction is more against Fair Use, in a second semester, permission must be obtained to copy. A good rule of thumb to follow when asking for permission is to specify a term limit for your reproduction use. This may eradicate the urgent need to seek permission in the future. The Brown Library will assume one semester, if no term limit is specified in the agreement between you and the owner of the work you wish to reproduce.

  9. My students have limited access to electronic information, does this exempt me from needing to get permission for print reserves?

    It’s important to understand that placing photocopied/scanned materials on library reserve involves reproduction. Providing links to articles contained in a database (in many cases) does not. Permission to reproduce materials must always be sought regardless of the problem of access on the part of the user. This is where the strength of the library shines. Proper permission requests will allow the library to maximize its specialty for leveling the playing field for access by users.

  10. I want to copy material for a class I teach every semester, do I need permission each time?

    This scenario can be avoided by asking for longer term limits for use from the copyright owner. This scenario is consecutive use, and in the case of Spontaneous Fair Use, if reproduction was made initially without permission only one semester of use applies. Using the Fair Use Checklist below can help determine where this type of reproduction stands in terms of infringement or Fair Use.

  11. Who pays the cost for copyright permission?

    Individuals who request copyright permissions are responsible personally for any royalty fees demanded by a copyright holder. Ask your department chair about reimbursement opportunities in your area.

  12. 12. Does the Brown Library bear the responsibility for seeking permission for the reserves it hosts? If not, how long does it take to receive permission, and how do I get it?

    The person wishing to use the materials in the classroom will need to seek copyright permission. Copyright can be obtained via face-to-face meeting with copyright owners, phone calls, letters, email or commercial services like The Copyright Clearance Center. No one method is a guarantee for permission granting. No one method guarantees there will be no cost associated with permission granting. No one method guarantees quick permission granting. Be advised that permission can come in as little as one day, or never. Ask USF Librarians for other sources and methods for copyright compliance permissions.

  13. Once I receive copyright permission, is there a time when it will expire?

    Terms of permission always vary and may be static or fluid. It is the right of the copyright holder to grant or take reproducing permission at any time. A copyright holder might also give permission for free, and then charge at a later date. Assumming terms for reproduction are unlimited, unless specified in a written agreement between you and the copyright holder, is not advised.

  14. The Brown Library owns 150,000 volumes and videos. Do I need to get permission to copy items from these volumes and videos, even though the library already owns these items?

    The databases are key to providing quick content to students and all users. Please submit a request to the Reference Desk for links to database content. If the results of the Fair Use Checklist indicate your reproduction is more against Fair Use, you must seek permission. Linking to the electronic versions of content residing in a database the Brown Library currently owns is a more defendable reproducing action.


  1. How do I know what is copyrighted and what is not?

    Works produced in the public domain are not protected by copyright law. Some federal, state and local governmental materials are examples. Works produced before 1923, are another example. Contact USF librarians for specific help with specific time limits. If you created a work, albeit for class or for other purposes, that work is protected by US copyright law. As soon as someone can read, manipulate, reproduce, watch, listen to, and (in some cases) eat a creation, that creation is protected by copyright. Registration of copyright is not necessary under US law, and understanding this fact will give you more confidence as you continue your own path of unique expression and creation.

  2. What is plagiarism, and how does it differ from copyright?

    Plagiarism is taking the words or ideas of others, reproducing them and then either not crediting them for their own words and ideas, or taking credit yourself. The tie between these two distinct ideas comes when considering what is and what is not intellectual property. If you reproduce another’s work, you are creating derivative reproductions. Credit must be given, within your derivative work, in order for others to consider your work outside of plagiarism. Unlike plagiarism, US federal law governs copyright. When you plagiarize, you break ethical guidelines that lead to the path of copyright infringement. Only copyright owners may reproduce their own works without permission. If you use the Fair Use Checklist and find that your reproduction is closer to Fair Use, your reproduction is more defendable against a copyright infringement claim.

  3. If I infringe someone’s copyright, am I stealing?

    Theft and copyright infringement are both illegal, but infringing on copyright involves reproduction, i.e., copying. Theft is the act of taking something that is not yours. Copyright infringement is the act of reproducing something that is not yours.

  4. How does copyright affect my schoolwork?

    You, as a student, have similar rights under the TEACH Act as faculty. You must, however, comply with all copyright laws. You can reproduce small amounts of copyrighted material for your own use. See faculty guidelines above for explicit rules related to amount of use. Use the Fair Use Checklist as a marker for your own copying efforts.

  5. Is my own work for school protected by copyright?

    It is best practice to make sure to include all necessary contact information on your work (a properly formatted APA title page, for example), so others may contact you for permission to reproduce what you have created. Any work you create, for school or otherwise, is always protected by copyright law. Copyright law exists to protect you against other’s reproducing your work as much as it is designed to protect other’s works from being reproduced by you.

  6. Where can I find royalty-free material for my school work?

    Try searching the Web for “royalty free” or “copyright free” images, video, and audio. More and more of this type of content is being produced each day, and these works will make your assignment creations much more in line with Fair Use guidelines. Be sure to be mindful that sites that advertise themselves as “royalty free” can sometimes contain copyrighted work as well. Read the fine print of the site’s policies for more information, or contact the site owners directly and ask them about copyright compliance issues.

  7. Can I legally download anything?

    Downloading of materials involves reproduction of materials. The act of downloading creates a copy from one computer to another. Many Web sites allow legal downloading of video, music, files and other copyrighted information. Typically, however, Web sites charge for downloading privileges. If no charge is involved with your downloading, be sure to read all user terms associated with the site you are accessing to make sure you are legally downloading material.

  8. Can I make copies of video content acquired from the Internet and use them in my school assignments?

    Copying of small scenes from popular films is generally considered to be within the bounds of Fair Use as long as reproducers are not profiting or intending to profit from their reproduction efforts. Display of the copied materials is also generally considered to be within the bounds of Fair Use for academic work. The key is to avoid commercial benefit. Copying of news clips and segments of factual information reports also tend to fall within Fair Use guidelines when integrated with student works.


Butler, R. P. 2004. Copyright for teachers and librarians. New York: Neal-Schuman.

George Mason University. 2009. Copyright resources office, University Libraries—George Mason University.

Harper, G. K. 2001. Crash course in copyright.

Lawrence, J. S. 1989. Fair Use and free inquiry: Copyright law and the new media. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.

Simonson, M., S. Smaldino, M. Albright, and S. Zvacek. 2009. Teaching and learning at a distance:Foundations of Distance Education. Boston: Pearson Education.

Washington State University. 2009. University publishing: Copyright.

William Patterson University. 2006. Copyright FAQs. faqs.shtml


United States Copyright Law (Title 17) must be adhered to by all reproducers of copyrighted works. Copyright protection is an inherent right given to all US citizens and can be applied to sound recordings, print words, videos,
visual art pieces, software and a variety of other types of created works. The entire, official text of US Copyright Law, analysis, opinions, bestpractices, and the history of copyright are available at the locations listed below:

The University of St. Francis Library welcomes all patrons to use its facility, web site and physical materials.

To ensure that all patrons and visitors are able to use Brown Library resources and services effectively they are required to comply with the rules and regulations included in the Patron Code of Conduct.

  1. US Copyright Office
  2. University of Texas Crash Course In Copyright
  3. Association of Research Libraries Copyright Timeline
  4. American Bar Association Section on Intellectual Property Law
  5. Software and Information Industry Association Anti-Piracy
  6. Business Software Alliance
  7. Copyright Clearance Center
  8. Cornell Law School Copyright Resources
  9. Creative Commons
  10. Distance Education Clearinghouse
  11. Yale University Liblicense
  12. Music Library Association Copyright Resources
  13. American Library Association Teach Act Information
  14. Washington State University Copyright
  15. World Intellectual Property Organization
  16. Digital Copyright Slider
  17. Section 108 Spinner
  18. Information Policies—CONTU
  19. Copyrightwatch
  20. Taking the Mystery out of Copyright by the Library of Congress
  21. CONFU: The Conference on Fair Use

Please note: the links above are subject to change or alternation at any time. Failure to comply with stated rules and regulations will result in immediate disciplinary action from Brown Library staff or USF Security possibly resulting in: a) banning from all Brown Library resources, b) criminal and/or civil prosecution, or c) legal action. Any violation of federal, state or local law, ordinance or regulations will be immediately reported to the Joliet Police Department.