The Copyright Act is a federal law that provides copyright protection in the United States for original works of authorship.
Copyright is actually a bundle of exclusive rights or protection in an original work that is granted to the copyright holder by the government.
Copyright protection arises in original works of authorship that are “fixed in any tangible medium of expression” (e.g., written or typed on paper, stored in a computer, recorded in an audio or video format, etc.).
Works of authorship include the following categories:
Copyright infringement is a violation of law that carries substantial penalties for the infringer. The general minimum statutory penalty is $750 per act of infringement. Infringement need not even be willful, but penalties for willful infringement are more severe at up to $150,000 per act of infringement. Criminal liability and even prison sentences of up to 5 years may be imposed on first time offenders who willfully infringe a copyright “for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.” In addition to being illegal, copyright infringement is a violation of University policy and can result in the imposition of University discipline up to and including dismissal for faculty and staff and expulsion for students.
Section 106 of the Copyright Act enumerates the exclusive rights of copyright holders. “Subject to certain exceptions, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; (2) to prepare derivative works [see definition below] based upon the copyrighted work; (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending; (4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly; (5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and (6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
Section 103 of the Copyright Act provides limitations on copyright protection for compilations and derivative works. Section 101 of the Copyright Act defines compilations and derivative works and other important terms.
A “compilation” is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. The term “compilation” includes collective works.
A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.
Section 121 of the Copyright Act provides limitations on exclusive rights regarding the reproduction of copyrighted works for people with disabilities. Students, faculty or staff with disabilities or seeking to assist those with disabilities may wish to consult with the Office of Disability Services.
For a more detailed discussion of copyright, visit these websites:
For more information on the TEACH Act, see an article written by Kenneth Crews, Director, Copyright Management Center, Indiana University School off Law-Indianapolis.
Filing a Course Pack
Undergraduate & Graduate (non-Law School)
Vince Perkins, Assistant Director for Information Products & Services, University Shop
Amy Spare, Faculty Services Librarian and Legal Research Instructor
Information on Course Reserves
Falvey Library regularly assists faculty members in placing print copies of copyrighted documents on reserve in the library and placing electronic copies of copyrighted documents on reserve on the instructor's WebCT course. In addition to copyright issues related to library reserve items, there may also be copyright compliance issues pertinent to copying or digital conversion of materials in the collection for research or instructional purposes. For information on library-related copyright issues, you can consult with Merrill Stein at (610) 519-4272. Advice provided by the library in these areas is limited to questions of policy and does not constitute legal advice.
Villanova Law School Library assists law faculty in placing print copies of copyrighted materials on reserve in the law library and placing electronic copies of copyrighted materials on class reserve through the following Website or directly on the instructor's Blackboard course. Please consult Regina Kozul at (610) 519-7020 or Justin Barber at (610) 519-6706 or (610)519-5201.
Online Resources - Blackboard/WebCT Vista
See the American Library Associations website, TEACH Act Best Practices Using Blackboard