Michigan State University

Commonly Asked Questions about Copyright © (with Answers)

The MSU Libraries subscribe to the full-text of an electronic journal. I’d like to post the article as either a PDF or full-text directly in my D2L course. Can I do this without permission? What are my options?

NO, our license agreements with our vendors prohibit using the articles/text with another delivery method or in another electronic location. This would be considered republishing and would require permission from the copyright holder. At this point you have two options. The preferred option is to create a link from within your D2L course or other online location to the desired article or journal. Generally speaking, linking is always the best option. Should you feel it’s pedagogically imperative that the full-text be located within your course, the second option is to request permission to use the full-text of the article in your course. Please see the following location for a summary of your copy rights: http://www.knowyourcopyrights.org/resourcesfac/faq/

I like the direct linking option. My students will find it easier across browser platforms to access the full-text. How can I do this?

Depending on the journal publisher, you may be able to create "stable links" to your desired article. This means that the URL for the article does not change and you will be able to avoid messy broken links in the middle of the semester when demand is highest. The library has created instructions on Creating Stable Links to Electronic Articles. Should the publisher of your particular journal not have the option for creating stable links, you can create a link from within D2L to the journal itself through the MSU Libraries electronic resources page. Call (800) 500-1554 ((517) 355-2345) for questions or problems creating stable links to MSU Libraries electronic resources from within D2L.

I've made the link from within my online course to the full text of an article licensed by the MSU Libraries. Will my students have to go through a proxy server to access it?

YES, once you click on the link within your online course, you should receive a log-in screen for the Library's EZ Proxy server. You must then enter your MSU NetID and password in order to access library e-resources. The EZ proxy server uses Single-Sign-On so you will only need to log-in once per session. If you find that you are not prompted to log-in, or your log-in is not accepted, or any other problems arise regarding access to library electronic resources, please call: (800) 500-1554 (5-2345). Service is available 24x7.

It's important for students to have the full-text available in my online course without opening a PDF reader. The article is licensed by the MSU Libraries, but it will provide greater impact if it's in the course full-text. How can I request permission?

The MSU Libraries has a Copyright Permissions Service. It is very important that you fill out the request form yourself. Only you know the specifics regarding your request and its planned use. Please note that it is the responsibility of the requestor or their department to pay any associated permission fees. The MSU Libraries will not pay copyright permission fees or royalties. If departmental funding is not an option, you should consider the paper course pack. For complete details about the Course Materials Service at MSU Libraries, please call (517) 884-6468.

I wrote a published journal article myself and want to put it in my online course. I have an article published in another journal that I wrote with a colleague that I'd also like to make available to students in my online course. I'm sure this is fine.

MAYBE. Who is the rightsholder of the article? If you assigned your rights to the publisher, permission to post the article online must be requested from the publisher. If you have retained the rights, you can do whatever you would like. In the case of the co-authored article, the same applies. If both of you assigned your rights to the publisher, permission must be requested from the publisher. If you retain the rights, you retain them jointly. In that case, you must obtain permission from your co-author to use the article.

Can I digitize an entire VHS/DVD of a movie and make it available in my online course? It's very relevant to the subject we're discussing.

NO, not without permission. One of the four major questions used to determine fair use is the effect on the potential market for or value of the work. Making an entire movie available online circumvents the need to purchase that item and results in loss of revenue for the rightsholder. DVD titles can in many cases be purchased fairly cheaply online, rented from Blockbuster, NetFlix, or Hollywood Video, to name just a few possibilities, or checked out from a library. Please see the Fair Use Analysis Tool for an explanation of the four factors to consider in determining fair use.

Can I digitize 4 chapters out of a 14 chapter textbook and put them in D2L?

NO, not without permission. Once again, as in question #6, circumventing the purchase of an item creates a negative effect on the potential market for the work. Providing book chapters online without permission can be viewed as an attempt to avoid the need for purchasing the entire title itself or a course pack. Generally speaking, it's also important to consider usage patterns with full-text online. It may cost more for students to print the items themselves than to buy the paper course pack outright.

Can I scan a book chapter and put it online? The book is out of print.

MAYBE. Books published before 1923 are considered to be in the public domain and permission is not required. If published after 1923, even though it may be out of print, the title is not in the public domain and permission must be requested. You can use the MSU Libraries Copyright Permissions Service to request permission to use the book chapter. Keep in mind that works by the US Government or works created by US Government employees as work for hire are in the public domain.

Are there copyright implications for transferring audio and video that is in D2L to a portable file that can be downloaded and viewed/listened to on an IPOD?

Yes, Podcasting is the same from a copyright standpoint as broadcasting. The same types of permissions are required. When requesting permission to use the materials within your D2L course, you must also request permission to use these same materials in podcasting if that is your intent. Permission to use the materials in ANGEL does not automatically give you permission to podcast these same materials.

Copyright is important. How can I learn more?

Following are some recommended sites for current copyright information:

My questions are not included in any of the above. Who can I contact on campus with my copyright questions?

For questions regarding any of the above or other questions relating to copyright please contact the Library Office of Copyright, (517) 884-1960.