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Copyright Information and Resources

Photo of students in a computer class.
Photo of students gathering at a park.
 
Find information and resources here about using copyrighted material for formal instruction.
Visit these pages for information and links about the use of copyrighted material for noninstructional purposes.
Photo of students in a computer class.
Find information and resources here about using copyrighted material for formal instruction.
Photo of students gathering at a park.
Visit these pages for information and links about the use of copyrighted material for noninstructional purposes.
 
What is copyright?

In simple terms, copyright is a form of legal protection that gives creative people - such as writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers - the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display or license their work. Copyright law is designed to promote creativity by making sure creators can profit from their work.

There are limits and exceptions to copyright, however. In the United States, for example, the fair use doctrine allows people to copy and distribute copyrighted materials under certain conditions, and there are other provisions in copyright law that give educators flexibility as well.
 
Why is it important to understand and comply with copyright law?

  • Infringing on someone's copyright can have legal consequences, including large fines.
  • Educational institutions are held to a higher standard than other organizations when it comes to copyright. Protecting DCCCD's reputation is important.
  • DCCCD employees have a responsibility to set a good example for students by obeying copyright law.
  • Educators also must understand copyright law so they can effectively - and legally - use copyrighted materials for instructional purposes as allowed under fair use and other provisions. 

In these Web pages, you'll find questions and answers, definitions and links to other resources that may help you learn more about copyright and your rights and responsibilities under the law. However, it's important to know that copyright law is complex, and interpretation of copyright law is subjective. Publishers or artists seeking to protect their work may have a different perspective from students or educators looking to use it. There are no black-and-white answers when it comes to copyright.

Because faculty and staff have different rights under copyright law, as well as different concerns, we've divided this information into:

Disclaimer: These Web pages are designed to educate and inform DCCCD employees about copyright and should not be construed as legal advice.
 
DCCCD employees should contact the Legal Office at 214-378-1703 for specific guidance related to copyright and intellectual property issues.