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Copyright Information: Copyright Information

Copyright information for faculty, students and staff

Copyright vs. License

Copyrights and licenses are similar in that they both give specific rights to the people that hold them.

  • Copyright can only be held by the people who create the material, and is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as "the exclusive, legally secured right to reproduce, distribute, and perform a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work.  It is designed primarily to protect an artist, a publisher, or another owner against specific unauthorized uses of his work. It supplies the holder with a limited monopoly over the created material that assures him of both control over its use and a portion of the pecuniary benefits derived from it."
  • A license on the other hand, encapsulates the rights and privileges that a copyright holder grants to someone else.  It defines the terms and conditions of someone else's usage of material, and their rights with regards to their ability to copy and redistribute that material.

In the case of textbooks, most publishers use licensing agreements to control the distribution of their material.  This is why books labelled "Instructor Copy" or "Review Copy" cannot be placed on reserve - the license prohibits this, and supercedes copyright.

DVD Replacement of VHS Tapes

Corning Community College adheres to copyright law and will not duplicate nor convert media to a digital format unless the following conditions are met and documented by the requestor.

  1.     If you are the creator of the media, and have not assigned copyright to someone else, then, as the copyright owner, you may have it converted.
  2.     If a digital copy of the media exists, it should be purchased.
  3.     If a digital copy does not exist, then the copyright owner should be contacted for written permission to change the media from analog to digital. The requestor has the responsibility for procuring this permission. To locate the copyright holder, contact the video's distributor. Search Google for the distributor's contact information. If the request is denied, the media cannot be converted.
  4.     If the copyright owner cannot be determined, one can visit the IMDb website for feature films, film shorts, and television programs. Enter the movie, or television show name, and scroll down to the company credits and obtain contact information to seek written permission. Another option is to search the Internet for the film's title to see if the film has its own Web page with contact information. In addition, the Copyright Clearance Center may be contacted to see if anyone lays claim to the copyright. If so, written permission from them should be sought.
  5.     If none of the above work, only the portion of the analog copy that is essential to the class may be converted. That single copy may only be used for face to face instruction.
  6.     Media recorded from an on air broadcast may not be converted. Copyright law states that this type of media may only be kept for 45 days, and used once in a class during that time.


We strongly recommend that, instead of relying on conversion of VHS to DVD, you look for another film that meets your needs. The Library is happy to assist you with this if needed.


What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.
(definition from the U.S. Copyright Office - more definitions and resources)

It is often assumed that "Fair use" allows for the use of copyrighted materials in an educational setting - however, this is not always the case.  Even the U.S. Copyright Office acknowledges that "the distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission."

Legal specifics of copyright are addressed in Title 17 of the United States Code.  For more information on fair use, read Section 107 of Title 17.
Title 17 (.pdf files) - Section 107 is in Chapter 1

Copyright and Media Materials


I need images for a project/presentation/slideshow/etc.  Where can I find some?

Right-clicking someone else’s image and pasting it into your document or placing it on your own website without asking is a copyright violation, unless the creator of the image has shared it for free distribution.  Searching Google for images is NOT a guarantee that an image is free to use!  Try these sites (and always read the accompanying documentation!):

  • Creative Commons - images and other materials that can be used, reproduced, and modified.
  • Wikimedia Commons - database of almost 12 million freely usable media files
    [Neither Creative Commons or Wikimedia own the content on their sites — it is owned by the individual creators. However, almost all may be freely reused without individual permission according to the terms of the particular license under which it was contributed to the project, but some licenses may require that the original creator be attributed. You do not need to obtain a specific statement of permission from the licensor (unless you wish to use the work under different terms than the license stated).]
  • The Microsoft clip art galleries (both within Microsoft Office - available in most CCC computer labs- and on the Microsoft website) are available royalty-free and can be used in Microsoft-created documents (Word, Power Point, etc.).


Under what conditions can I show a video to my students?

  • The performance must have a connection to face-to-face teaching activities.
  • The teaching activities are conducted by a non-profit educational institution.
  • The performance must take place in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, such as a library, auditorium or gym.
  • The entire audience must be in the same room.
  • The video must be lawfully made; not an illegal copy.

May I show library-owned multimedia materials to a community discussion group?

  • Maybe!  If the group does not consist of class members enrolled in a non-profit institution, nor is it engaged in the formal instructional activities of such an institution, it is necessary to obtain public performance rights from the copyright holder.  However, the Library does hold public performance rights to some titles - check with us.

The popular cinema titles in the library's collection generally do NOT have public performance rights, and may not be used outside of the classroom except for private home viewing.


The document below provides a brief summary of copyright & reserve issues.  If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us!  We will do our best to answer your questions.