Skip to Main Content

Library Policies & Procedures: Copyright Policy

A listing of library policies and procedures

Copyright Policy

It is the intent of Bellevue University that all members of the University community adhere to the provisions of the United States Copyright Law (U.S. Code: Title 17, Section 101 et seq.). The following policy statements and guidelines constitute a manual for anyone at Bellevue University who wishes to reproduce, alter, or perform works that are protected by copyright.

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of legal protection for authors of original works, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual products. Publication is not essential for copyright protection, nor is the well-known symbol ©, however, pre-1976 works must be published and be identified as copyrighted in order to have copyright protection. Section 106 of the Copyright Act (90 Statute 2541) generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  • Reproduce copies of the work.
  • Prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work.
  • Distribute copies of the work by sale, rental, lease, or lending.
  • Publicly perform the work (if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic work or a pantomime, motion picture or audiovisual work).
  • Publicly display the work (if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, sculptural, graphic, or pictorial work — including the individual images of a film or a pantomime).

The copyright owner retains these rights even when the work itself belongs to someone else. However, the rights are not absolute. They are subject to "Fair Use" limitations, which apply to all media, and medium-specific limitations.

Fair Use

The doctrine of fair use, embedded in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, addresses the needs of scholars and students by mitigating the rights of copyright ownership. However, what constitutes fair use is expressed in the form of guidelines rather than explicit rules. To determine fair use, consider the following four factors:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether the copied material will be for nonprofit, educational, or commercial use.
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work.   
  3. The amount, substantiality, or portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market of the copyrighted work.

Printed Materials

Works that may be used freely:

  • Publications dated 1922 or earlier.
  • Works not including a copyright notice AND first published before January 1, 1978.
  • Most United States government documents.

Single photocopies for scholarly needs or Library Reserve:

  • A chapter of a book.
  • A newspaper or periodical article.
  • A short story, short essay, or short poem.
  • A chart, diagram, drawing, graph, cartoon, or picture

Multiple copies for classroom use must meet the following tests of brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect. Each copy must also include prominent notice that it is copyrighted material.


  • Prose: Either (1) a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (2) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event an excerpt of up to 500 words.
  • Poetry: (1) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages, or (2) an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
  • Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or periodical issue.
  • Special Works: Certain works in poetry or prose or in "poetic prose", which may combine language with illustrations and which fall short of 2,500 words, may not be reproduced in their entirety. However, an excerpt of no more than two published pages of a work and containing no more than 10% of the words found in the text, may be reproduced.


  • The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the instructor.
  • The decision to use the for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

    Cumulative Effect

  • The copying of the material is for only one course, with no more than one copy per student in the course.
  • No more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during a term.

Audiovisual Works

Classroom Use

Possession of a DVD does not confer the right to show the work. The copyright owner specifies, at the time of purchase or rental, the circumstances in which a DVD may be "performed". However, whatever their labeling or licensing, use of these media is permitted in an educational institution as long as certain conditions are met.

S          Section 110(1) of the Copyright Act of 1976 specifies that the following is permitted:

Performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance or display of individual images is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made...and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe it was not lawfully made.

Additional text of the Copyright Act and portions of the House Report (94-1476) combine to provide the following, more detailed list of conditions [from Virginia M. Helms, supra]:

  • They must be shown as part of the instructional program.
  • They must be shown by students, instructors, or guest lecturers.
  • They must be shown either in a classroom or other school location devoted to instruction such as a studio, workshop, library, gymnasium, or auditorium if it is used for instruction.
  • They must be shown either in a face-to-face setting or where students and teacher(s) are in the same building or general area.
  • They must be shown only to students and educators.
  • They must be shown using a legitimate (that is, not illegally reproduced) copy with the copyright notice included.

Further, the relationship between the film and the course must be explicit. Films, even in a "face-to-face" classroom setting, may not be used for entertainment or recreation, whatever the work’s intellectual content.


Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act

The purpose of the TEACH Act is to improve previous regulations, primarily to distance education specifically in sections 110(2) and 112(f) of the U.S. Copyright Act.

TEACH Act Requirements:

  • Accredited, non-profit institution
  • Copyright policy publicized
  • Copyright information notice displayed on works
  • Enrolled students limitations
  • Mediated instructional activities
  • Reasonable portions of works

 Technology Requirements:

  • User authentication for enrolled students
  • Limited access for time period within class session
  • Prevention of copying and distributing of copyrighted works

 What the TEACH Act Does NOT Allow:

  • Electronic reserves, course packs, and interlibrary loan
  • Commercial document delivery
  • Textbooks or other digital content provided under license from publisher
  • Conversion of materials from analog to digital formats
  • Does not supersede fair use or existing digital license agreements      


Computer Software

Bellevue University negotiates site licenses with software vendors whenever possible for software products that are selected for extensive use, since these arrangements provide the University community with efficient access to computer programs that support the curriculum while assuring the copyright owner a fair royalty.

Individuals are not permitted to download or use software on Bellevue University computers, tablets, or other devices without appropriate licensing rights.

Libraries are permitted to lend software, but only for temporary use, not for copying.


HEOA Compliance Plan

Bellevue University has a plan to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) regarding its provisions to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing.

 Specifically, HEOA requires institutions to:

  • Make an annual disclosure that informs students that the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject them to criminal and civil penalties and describes the steps that institutions will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted materials;
  • Have developed plans to “effectively combat” the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material including "the use of one or more technology-based deterrents";
  • Offer alternatives to illegal file sharing to the extent practical;
  • Identify procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 with regard to peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing, Bellevue University has taken the concrete steps to curb illegal downloading on our University computer networks.


Public Domain

Public domain is any creative work not protected by copyright which can be used freely by anyone without having to obtain copyright permission.  The most common reason for items included in the public domain is because the copyright expired or the material is so old that it is no longer covered by copyright laws. 

Public Domain materials include:

  • Material published before 1923
  • Material published between 1923-1977 without a copyright notice
  • Material published between 1978 to March 1, 1989 without copyright notice and without subsequent registration
  • Unpublished material is life of the author + 70 years (works from authors who died before 1937
  • Works owned by the federal government,
  • Facts, and ideas


Copyright Notice:

A general copyright notice should include: 1) Copyright holders’ name, 2) Year published, and 3) Word “copyright,” or the © symbol.

Ex: © Bellevue University, 2017.


Copyright Permission Process:

For permission requests, fill out the “Copyright Permission Request” form found on the Bellevue University Copyright Center ( Or, send an email to:, with the following information:

  • Faculty Name
  • Email and Phone
  • Department
  • Dates material will be posted
  • Course Name / Course Number
  • Number of enrolled students
  • Item for permission with bibliographic information
  • How material will be used

For more copyright information, visit the Bellevue University Copyright Center


Permission to Use Bellevue University Marketing Material:

For Bellevue University’s Privacy Policy, please visit:

For media inquiries contact Bellevue University’s Public Relations department at 402-557-7298 or send an email


Academic Compliance:

For academic compliance questions, contact the Director of Compliance, Sarah E. Jarecki, J.D. at:


Effective Date: The Bellevue University Copyright Policy was revised in December 2017, and approved by the Library Committee.