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Texas State Technical College Copyright Compliance


It is the policy of Texas State Technical College (TSTC) to be in compliance with all federal and state statutes regulating the use and development of copyrighted materials.  The Copyright Act of 1976 codified as 17 United States Code (U.S.C.) is the primary basis of copyright law in the United States.  TSTC has a Statewide Operating Standard on Copyright Compliance which outlines the pertinent information about copyright regulations, definitions, the delegation of authority at TSTC, the operating requirements, and performance standards.

TSTC employees should use the Copyright Clearance Center to obtain legal permission to use copyrighted materials. TSTC is a member and its users may obtain permission through the annual licensing service.

All employees will be given training on how to use the Copyright Clearance Center. If permission for legal use of materials is not part of the CCC coverage, suggestions are given on how to obtain legal use permission.

The website also contains information on copyright law and is a useful resource to all TSTC employees.

Copyright Authority

Patrick Brady
Phone: 254-867-3664


US Copyright Office has an informative site with general information on US copyright law, legislation, announcements, and international treaties.

Public Domain

Find out when works pass into the public domain in the US as well as scholarly resources on this very interesting subject. Copyright protection was always meant to be for a limited time, after which materials would become available to the public for just about any use imaginable.

For a very interesting and thoughtful discussion of the Public Domain, go to this collection of papers from the Duke Law School

In order to get a variety of opinion and topics relating to the Public Domain you can search the archives of the listserv for CNI-Copyright.

Numerous entities are interested in copyright law and intellectual property issues. Here are a few:

American Library Association (ALA)
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)

Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI)
Coalition for Networked Information (CNI)
Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC)
Music Library Association's Copyright Information Page
North Carolina State University Copyright Use tutorial
University Of Texas crash course in copyright


What is Copyright?

Copyright is an area of law that provides creators and distributors of creative works with an incentive to share their works by granting them the right to be compensated when others use their works in certain ways. Specific rights are granted to creators of works in the U.S. Copyright Act (Title 17, US Code).

What materials are considered copyrighted?

Copyrighted materials include all original works of authorship, including logos, brands,  literary and dramatic works, musical scores, architecture, photographs, maps, choreographs, pantomimes, graphic art work, sculptures, audiovisual works, song lyrics, video, film, and electronic creations, such as computer programs and software.

Can you explain fair use in an educational institution?

A provision for fair use, often referred to as “educational fair use,” exists under  the Copyright Law. Using copyrighted material under the fair use provision is restricted to the following purposes: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research, in a nonprofit setting. Furthermore, a determination as to whether the reproduction is being used fairly must be made based upon the following factors:

  1. The purpose and character of the use (whether for commercial or non-profit educational use).
  2. The nature of the copyright-protected work.
  3. The amount of the information used in proportion to the entire work.
  4. The effect of the use of the material upon the potential market value of the copyright-protected work.

Fair use is an ambiguous concept, and the law does not exactly state what would be labeled fair use or not.

How does the TEACH Act affect educational institutions?

According to the The TEACH Act of 2002 (“Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act)

What are the penalties for infringement?

The penalties for infringement are very harsh: the court can award up to $100,000 for each separate act of willful infringement. Willful infringement means that one knew he was infringing and did it anyway. Ignorance of the law, though, is no excuse. If one doesn't know he is infringing, he still will be liable for damages - only the amount of the award will be affected. Then there are attorney’s fees.

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