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Copyright: Welcome

U.S. copyright resources pertinent to teaching and learning. Includes information on Copyright basics, Fair Use, Creative Commons, Public Domain, and Streaming video rights.


This guide is intended for use by the Volunteer State Community College (VSCC) faculty and administrators. This guide is designed to be a point of reference for copyright related issues or questions.

Learning Objectives: As a result of reviewing this guide, users will be able to demonstrate:

  • A basic understanding of copyright, specifically US Copyright Law
  • An understanding of and the ability to apply the 4 Fair Use Factors to determine if an item can be used
  • An understanding of Creative Commons
  • An understanding of Public Domain
  • An understanding of copyright in relation to select media formats
  • Knowledge of where to find more general information resources and official copyright resources

Students can find more information about copyright and citation through the Learning Commons and Thigpen Library.


Basic Copyright Overview
Copyright Fair Use Creative Commons Public Domain
All rights are reserved under copyright laws to protect the copyright holder. For exceptions, please refer to Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17) Section 107 for Fair Use, Section 108 for Library Use and Section 110 for the Teach Act. Guidelines for limited use of select portions of copyrighted works for educational purposes. Guidelines are based on the purpose of use, nature of the copyrighted work, amount of the work to be used and effect on the value of the copyrighted material. Works are intended to be shared and some rights are reserved based upon the Creative Commons conditions selected by the creator/author. No rights are reserved. the material is NO longer under copyright protection. This includes works published before 1923, works of long-dead authors, works that the copyright has expired, works the copyright holder designated as public domain, etc.
Works CANNOT be copied, adapted, published or used without the permission of the copyright holder, except in certain exceptions (see above).  A portion of works (typically 10%) CAN be copied, adapted, published or used (for educational purposes) WITHOUT the permission of the copyright holder. Works CAN be copied, adapted, published or used based upon the license specifics of the Creative Commons conditions (attribution, noncommercial, no derivative works, and share alike). Works CAN be copied, adapted, published or used WITHOUT the permission of the original copyright holder.


This guide was not created by legal experts or copyright specialists and no information in this guide is legally binding. For specific questions, please contact your Dean to determine if the question needs to be addressed by the campus Intellectual Property Advisory Committee