What Is Copyright?
According to the Oxford Languages dictionary, Copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.
In simpler terms, copyright is the right to copy. This means that the original creators of products and anyone they give authorization to are the only ones with the exclusive right to reproduce the work, other people must ask their permission to use it or any part of it.
Copyright law gives creators of original material the exclusive right to further use and duplicate that material for a given amount of time, at which point the copyrighted item becomes public domain.
The LAFS Library provides guidance to LAFS faculty, staff, and students using copyrighted works in their research and educational endeavors. This guide and any linked content are intended to provide general information about copyright and do not constitute legal advice.
Copyright offers exclusive rights to the creators of expressive works. These rights include:
What type of works can be copyrighted?
Our Library Director can support you in getting course materials (including readings and videos) online, purchasing and licensing materials where necessary, and reviewing relevant copyright issues. The Library Staff can also help identify relevant materials available in the Library's collections or freely online without the risk of copyright infringement. If you need to upload or link to materials for students to access, these are great places to start.
The Libraries collections include millions of books, scripts, streaming videos, and other materials to support your teaching without copyright concerns. You can also take advantage of videos, images, and other content made available online under Creative Commons licenses, which allow for reuse with attribution. Other alternatives can be found through the Internet Archive, Wikimedia Commons, etc.
Fair use becomes even more critical in an online learning context where other exemptions in U.S. Copyright Law are more constrained. Fair use is an explicit part of copyright law that allows all of us to repurpose portions of copyright-protected works in contexts such as education and scholarship. Questions to ask as you upload materials for your students or create online lectures include:
The Los Angeles Film School relies on fair use and other areas of copyright law to prioritize access to course materials for students with disabilities.
There are a few ways to share materials while easily lowering your risk of copyright infringement:
Images available for use with attribution
Out-of-copyright materials that can be legally used and shared