Copyright Policy



OCCC Library supports compliance with copyright law for the protection of the institution and of employees as both creators and users of copyright protected works.  The College requires OCCC faculty, staff, and students to observe federal law regarding the use of copyright protected materials.  Reference:  U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17).  That commitment includes the full exercise of the rights accorded to users of copyrighted works under the “Fair-Use” provision, U.S.C. Section 107.


Copyright is the right granted by law to the author or creator of a work to control the use of the work.  The copyright law grants owners of copyright the sole right to do or allow others to do the following acts with regard to their copyrighted works:

  • To reproduce all or part of the work
  • To prepare derivatives or adaptations of the work
  • To distribute copies of the work to the public by sale, rent, lease, or lending
  • To perform the work publicly
  • To display the work publicly
  • To perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission

The unauthorized use of one of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner constitutes infringement.  Permission must be obtained from the copyright owner to copy, distribute, display, or perform a copyrighted work unless it falls in to one of the following two exceptions:  the material has passed into the public domain, or the manner of use qualifies as Fair Use as prescribed by U.S. Copyright Law.

Use the Copyright Genie, a free tool created by Michael Brewer and the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy to help you find out if a work is covered by U.S. Copyright, calculate its terms of protection, and print out a PDF to save for your records.

Public Domain

Works in the public domain are not protected by copyright and can be used freely.  If the content was created/published before 1923, it’s in the public domain.  After this date, it gets complicated.  This tool, the Public Domain Slider, is provided by Michael Brewer and the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy and provides more detailed information.

Fair Use

To ensure a balance of the rights of copyright owners and the public interest, the law allows you to use copyrighted works without permission, regardless of the medium, when evaluation of the circumstances suggests the use is fair.  The fair use provision of copyright law allows for the use of copyrighted materials without gaining authorization, based on the weighing of four factors.  Those factors are:

  1. Purpose and Character—Using a work for teaching at a non-profit educational institution favors fair use, especially if access is restricted to your students.
  2. Nature of Copyrighted Work—Using work that is fact-based, published, or out-of-print favors fair use. The more unique and creative the work, the less likely it is to favor fair use.
  3. Amount Used—Using a small portion of a whole work favors fair use. Although sometimes it may be fair to use an entire work, such as an image, if it is needed for instruction.
  4. Market Effect—Using a work that does not harm the value or the potential market of the work can favor fair use. Potentially harming the value or the market can weigh more heavily against fair use than the other factors.

The Fair Use Evaluator is an online tool developed by Michael Brewer and the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy.  It can help users determine if the use of a protected work is a “fair use.” It also helps document the information they may need to support a fair use claim by providing a time-stamped PDF for the user’s records. When the factors weigh toward fair use, your use is better-justified.  When the total factors are rather even or tipped against fair use, you may need to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

The Copyright Act does permit the performance or display of copyrighted materials during face-to-face teaching activities without getting the author’s permission.  This exemption does not permit copying or distributing a work, only displaying or performing it within the confines of the teaching environment.

The Exceptions for Instructors ETool is another tool to find out if your intended use meets the requirements set out in the law. This tool can also help you collect information detailing your educational use and provide you with a summary in PDF format.

Permission to Use Copyrighted Materials

When the fair use evaluation indicates that fair use is not justified, it is necessary to seek permission from the copyright holder.  The American Association of Publishers suggests that the following information be included in the request:

  • The title, author and/or editor, and the edition of the material
  • If it is a photocopy use, the number of copies to be made
  • A description of the exact material to be used, including the portion needed with the page numbers or chapters given
  • The purpose of the use
  • Whether the material is to be sold or not
  • The type of reprint, such as photocopies

In some cases, you might eliminate the need for permission to use copyrighted materials by providing a link to the work online instead of making copies of it.  The work might be available on the author’s homepage or in an open access journal on the internet.

Adopted 12/01/2016 –  OCCC Library


DMCA Designated Agent:

Darci L. Adolf, (541)867-8527,

Oregon Coast Community College

400 SE College Way

Newport, OR  97366

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