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Copyright Support and Issues   Tags: copyright, intellectual, property  

The Caltech library staff can and will assist faculty, students and staff in the various areas of copyright issues. This guide is meant to serve as a starting point.
Last Updated: Jul 22, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Frequently Asked Copyright Questions

  • Fair Use
    Library staff will explain the basis for the fair use copyright exemption, and provide advice regarding whether a certain planned use is fair-use or not.
  • Classroom Copying and Coursepacks
    Library staff will explain the basis for the ability to copy material for use in the classroom, and will provide advice regarding the need for permission for planned classroom use.
  • Posting Course Materials on the Internet
    The TEACH Act addresses the use of copyrighted material for long-distance learning. Restrictions exist to protect copyright owners, etc.
  • Permissions
    Library staff can provide the following services:
    (a.) How to phrase a permission request of a copyright-holder.
    (b.) What address or contact to use for requesting permission.
    (c.) Author’s rights - library staff will advise authors regarding copyright transfer agreements and how such agreements affect access to the scholarly archive.
  • Registering your Copyright
    The U.S Copyright Office has made it easy for authors to register copyright on their own works. Their website contains a lot of useful information, including what can be copyrighted, a listing of current fees, and updated FAQs and other tips. It also includes an online copyright filing interface. Using this system both lowers your cost for filing copyright and speeds up the registration process.

Library Copyright Support

As librarians and  expert copyright educators, we support the Caltech community with training and information in copyright management best practices and we share high quality copyright information resources. Our aim is to help guide faculty, students, and research staff to make wise decisions as both creators and users of copyrighted works.

Under the direction of the Office of the General Counsel, and in compliance with Caltech policies, Caltech Copyright Specialists assist faculty, students and staff in the following areas of copyright issues.

  • Copyright essentials (what the law says about the rights of owners, the rights of users, and basics about what is copyrighted and for how long)
  • Fair Use (what the law says about the important limitation on copyright owner's rights and how to analyze your situation to see if Fair Use applies)
  • Author Rights (Who owns copyright in a work; what the rights of the copyright owner are; and how to assert, protect, or manage those rights to meet your objectives
  • Copyright status of research outputs including published works, grey literature, software, data, and more

In providing copyright education and information, it is understood that the individual user is responsible for their own information handling choices (including infringement).  As representatives of Caltech,Librarians aim to minimize the Institute's exposure while also promoting best practices to maximize the reuse of copyright materials in accordance with the law.  The Office of the General Counsel is the final authority.

For more information on Caltech's copyright, sofrtware and patent policies, please see the Office of the General Counsel's website's Forms and Documents section.

We highly recommend that faculty, students and staff contact the Office of the General Counsel if they have specific questions requiring the advice of a qualified attorney.


    Online Copyright Tools

    Using these educational tools can help educators and others become more comfortable utilizing the limitations and exceptions to the exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder under U.S. Copyright law. By exercising these valuable exceptions, we strengthen copyright’s primary purpose–“to promote the progress of science and useful arts” (U. S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8).

    • Section 108 Spinner
      Helps determine whether or not a particular reproduction is covered by the exemption known as Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Code, which allows libraries & archives, under certain circumstances, to make reproductions of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder.
    • Exceptions for Instructors
      Guides users through the educational exceptions in U.S. copyright law, helping to explain and clarify rights and responsibilities for the performance and display of copyrighted content in traditional, distance and blended educational models.
    • Fair Use Evaluator
      Helps understand how to determine if the use of a protected work is a “fair use.” It helps users collect, organize, and document the information they may need to support a fair use claim, and provides a time-stamped PDF document for the users’ records.

    Journal Analyses for Authors & Reviewers

    Caltech Library will provide information to help authors make informed choices when choosing to review, publish or edit journals.

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    Kathy Johnson
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    Millikan Library 1-43
    Rm. 324
    California Institute of Technology
    Pasadena, CA 91125
    Office: (626) 395-6065
    kjohnson AT

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