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Copyright Center

Frequently Asked Questions


Can a film rented from a video store be shown to a class?
YES—following Fair Use Guidelines, viewing is permissible in a face-to-face setting for non-profit purposes.

Can a local performance production such as a play, be filmed and then downloaded to the web for online viewing? 
Only if the company who purchases the rights to perform and their contract allows for taping and public performance rights viewing.  The company also has to sign a release that it can be released online.

Can a college-owned video or DVD be copied and placed on Reserve in the library?
NO—not unless permission for the copying has been obtained from the copyright owner.  The actual video or DVD from the department can be placed on Reserve.

May a club or other group show a video on campus obtained from a local video store?
NO—however, many film/video libraries and distributors offer the required “public performance rights” that are included in a higher rental fee.



Can a newspaper article be scanned and inserted into a Power Point presentation?
The article can only be scanned once (Fair Use) as long as the presentation will not be copied and distributed to the class.

Can a page from a textbook be scanned and then printed out instead of using the photocopier?
NO—this is a violation of copyright.  When using the photocopier, a patron is paying for individual rights to use the material and assuming copyright liability.  However, when scanning a document from a book, the format is being changed from print to an electronic source.  Therefore, the format of the copyrighted item is being altered and permission must be obtained.

What percentage of solutions manuals in the library can be copied?
Any solutions manual can be copied by students as many times as they want, as they assume copyright liability.  However, faculty cannot make multiple photocopies for students, hence the reason why the solutions manuals are on reserve in the library. 

Can an entire book be photocopied when there seems to be no way to buy another copy?
Yes, so long as a vigorous marketplace search determines that another copy cannot be bought at a reasonable price, within a reasonable period.  A reasonable investigation will always require recourse to commonly known trade sources in the United States and, if that fails, an attempt to obtain the copyright owner’s permission.

What if I discover the need to copy more than would be permitted as “Fair Use” when there is insufficient time to obtain permission?
In a genuine emergency, College departments such as the Copy Center might proceed before written permission is received.  However, the College’s credibility in upholding the letter and spirit of the copyright law does not allow for many such exceptions.  Further, if permission is subsequently denied, the disallowed copies would have to be withdrawn.


Can I place a video/DVD on Blackboard for an online class? 
NO—the film can only be digitized upon approval from the copyright owner.  Please send an email to with your request and be sure to include as much information as possible so the request can be submitted to the publisher.  However, if each student is required to purchase the video, then clips (<10%) of the film may be able to be placed online.

Can a faculty member post student photographs or papers onto a course management system without any copyright issues?
Some could argue that once a student enrolls in a course and that such posting is a requirement, the student is giving their consent.  However, to protect the institution it would be a good idea to have the student sign an agreement at the beginning of the course giving permission to post their works in this manner.

If the Bellevue University Library owns a book, can any part of the book be placed on BlackBoard without copyright permission?
Only a very small percent of the book can be placed on BlackBoard without permission for one semester under Fair Use.  Although, it ise best to obtain copyright permission for the book in case it is needed for multiple courses.  Faculty members can place books on print reserves at the Circulation Desk so students can copy of what they need or read it in the library. 

Can I copy and paste information from a website into Microsoft Word and post it for students to read on Blackboard?
NO—the easiest thing to do in order to avoid a copyright violation is to post the direct link to the website onto the designated platform.  Since the information from the website is openly available, anyone in the course can access the material. Now, the number of people visiting the website can be acknowledged and copyright will not be an issue.

Can I use online tutorials, Power Point slides, and other training resources provided on the public domain for my online courses without having to get copyright permission?
YES—the best way to avoid any possible copyright violation is to post the link directly into Blackboard.  Students must then access the website through the link and then will be able to view the selected material.  Copyright permissions may only have to be obtained if the instructor wants the material customized for their course or if it is no longer available in the public domain.

Can I use material from a textbook or the instructor’s manual to post on Blackboard?
YES and NO—as long as students are required to purchase the textbook for the course, any amount of the text from the book (excluding the book cover) can be posted on Blackboard without having to cite the source.  However, you must seek permission to post the book cover image for any use.

Can I post a book cover image on Blackboard without asking permission?
NO--Unfortunately, publishers recommend asking permission for book cover images, even if it is a required text for the course.  Sometimes the artwork on the cover needs separate permission from the artist rather than just from the publisher.  Furthermore, publishers are interested in knowing when book cover images are being used.

 If I have a publication subscription to a newspaper or magazine and get it electronically as well, can I post the link for an entire class to read too?
NO—this is a paid subscription for you only.  If there is an option to email it to a friend, you can email it to a classmate or class.  But, this link to the subscription cannot be posted on Blackboard for others to view.

Can I use a photograph of an exterior of a building in my presentation without asking permission?
YES--Section 120 of the Copyright Act, "Scope of Exclusive Rights in Architectural Works" states, "pictorial representations permitted -- the copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not include the right to prevent the making, distributing or public displays of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work, if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place." 

What is the difference between "open-access" and "public domain" materials?
Open Access materials are generally freely available online, but sometimes may include copyright licensing restrictions as far as how the materials are used.  Public Domain materials are those works that do not hold any copyright restrictions, including U.S. government works, facts and non-creative works, and works whose copyright has expired.       

Am I free to post any Google image in my PowerPoint presentation?
NO-however, you can search Google Images
for specific license terms. From Google Images, click on "Search tools" and then "Usage rights."  Choose from the various license terms such as in this case, "Labeled for noncommercial reuse" would be appropriate.           


Do I still own the copyright to my creations, even if I don't register the copyright?

Yes. However, registration is highly recommended. All unpublished photos are protected within the United States.

How do I register copyright for something I wrote?
Copyright can be registered with the U.S. Copyright office.  URL:

How long does it take to obtain copyright permission?
Copyright permission takes between one week to one month, depending on the rights holder.  It is best to ask permission for an item at least one month before it is needed for a class.  This usually ensures enough time to obtain the permission. 

Is it alright to use a single-user licensed software disk on multiple computers for use at the same time?
NO.  If simultaneous use on multiple computers is necessary, ask Computer Services about the possibility of a site-license arrangement with the vendor.  Another possibility is that the vendor may offer a price break for multiple copies or “lab packs.”

Can I use someone else's recipe and publish it if I credit the "author" of the recipe?
A recipe may be protected by copyright if it is more than just a list of ingredients.  Special instructions on how to prepare the food may be copyrighted.  Therefore, it is best to explain the recipe in your own words, while crediting the author, to avoid copyright violation.