main photo
Tacoma Community College » About TCC » Policies » Copyright Policy

Copyright Policy


Tacoma Community Collegerecognizes the importance of clearly defining policy and practice pertaining to U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17). This policy outlines the college’s practices and procedures pertaining to U.S. Copyright Law for instructional and non-instructional staff.


All members of the College Community


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 of federal copyright law. (U.S.C. Section 107).



Copyright is the right granted by law to an author or other creator to control the use of the work created. The copyright law grants owners of copyright (authors, other creators and publishers) the sole right to do or allow others to do each of the following acts with regard to their copyrighted works:

  • to reproduce all or part of the work
  • to distribute copies (including by transmission through the internet)
  • to prepare new (derivative) versions based on the original work
  • to perform the work publicly
  • to display the work publicly

It is illegal to reproduce, distribute, perform, or display copyrighted material without the copyright holder’s permission, unless

§ the material has passed into the public domain (often, material over 70 years old falls into this category), or

§ the manner in which the material is used qualifies as Fair Use as prescribed by U.S. Copyright law.

Fair Use - When does it apply to me?

The Fair Use Doctrine is a component of U.S. Copyright law. (Section 107). It allows for the use of copyrighted materials, without gaining authorization, based on the weighing of four factors:

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • The nature of the copyrighted work;
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

No one factor alone determines a person's right to use a copyrighted work without permission.

Notice that the Fair Use Doctrine does not grant permission for use of copyrighted material simply on the grounds that it is to be used for educational purposes. For example, copying and distributing an entire textbook to students would be illegal, because it violates factors 3 and 4. But copying one chapter might be acceptable.


The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act was signed into law in October, 2002.

The TEACH Act amends Sections 110(2) and 112 of the Copyright Act of 1976 to give instructors at accredited nonprofit educational institutions greater flexibility to use third party copyrighted works in online course delivery.

The bill permits the display and performance of virtually all types of works during online instruction without the consent of the copyright owner, provided that:

  • the online instruction at an eligible institution is mediated by an instructor;
  • the transmission of the material is intended only for receipt by students enrolled in the course, regardless of where the students are physically located;
  • the institution employs measures to prevent “retention of the work in accessible form by recipients of the transmission.for longer than the class session;”
  • the institution employs measures that limit the transmission of the material to students enrolled in the particular course and precludes unauthorized student retention and/or downstream redistribution “to the extent technologically feasible;”
  • use of the material is clearly for educational, not entertainment purposes.

Specifically allowed:

  • Performances of non dramatic literary works, such as readings from a novel, textbook, or poetry;
  • Performances of non dramatic musical works, such as playing a recording or actually performing a new pop song or symphony;
  • Performances of any other work, including dramatic and audiovisual works in "reasonable and limited portions;"
  • Displays of any work "in an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of a live classroom session."
  • Specifically excluded:
  • Works that are marketed "primarily for performance or display as part of mediated instructional activities transmitted via digital network;"
  • Performances or displays given by means of copies that might not have been lawfully made.


It is the policy of the College to facilitate the exercise in good faith of full Fair-Use rights by faculty, librarians, and staff, in furtherance of their teaching, research, and service activities. To that end, the College shall:

  1. Inform its faculty, librarians, and staff about their Fair-Use rights and the application of the four factors for determining those rights set forth in Title 17 of the United States Code: Section 107 ;
  2. Develop and make available through the Copyright Officer, appropriate resources concerning Fair-Use and intellectual property laws generally and the application of Fair Use in specific situations;
  3. Avoid, whenever possible, adopting or supporting policies or agreements that would restrict Fair-Use rights;


Copying of materials or other uses not specifically allowed by the law, fair use, license agreement, or the permission of the copyright holder is strictly prohibited.

Written permission may be obtained from the copyright holder in the manner set out in college guidelines. If the material is to be reproduced and sold in the College Bookstore, the written request for authorization must state that the material is to be reproduced and sold.

Employees who willfully disregard the copyright policy are in violation and do so at their own risk and assume all liability.

The college designates the chief administrator of the library as the copyright officer for the college. The copyright officer will exercise general oversight of the copyright function for the college and will assure that information about the law and guidelines are available in appropriate instructional offices, the library, and the college bookstore.

Every attempt will be made to assist employees who need information so that they can perform their duties within the intent of the law.


Tacoma Community Collegeemployees using copy machines or other devices for reproduction of any material are responsible for familiarizing themselves with provisions of the copyright law and fair use guidelines before copying or reproducing any material. To this end, the copyright officer will cause copies of the law and guidelines to be made available and prominently displayed near copying or other reproduction devices wherever they are permanently installed.

If after a study of the law and/or guidelines there is uncertainty as to whether reproduction or use of materials meets the requirements of the "fair use" concept of the copyright law, the copyright officer should be consulted.

If the reproduction of the copyrighted material does not meet the "fair use" guidelines, college employees must seek a written authorization to copy or reproduce the material from the copyright holder. If the material is to be reproduced and sold in the college bookstore, the written authorization must contain the recognition that the material is to be reproduced and sold.

A permanent central file of all written copyright authorizations, releases, or waivers will be established in the college's library and employees obtaining such authorization will be responsible for transmitting them to the copyright officer. Copies of such authorization will be sent, as appropriate, to the bookstore.

Please consider rating the content on this page:
Poor Outstanding
Your comments about the content on this page:

If you would like us to get back with you, please share your email address (optional):