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Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive:
Intellectual Property


Pete Seeger and a Freedom School class in 1964


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United States Copyright Law

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. As of April 1999, the law was amended from its 1976 status with the inclusion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Law and the Sonny Bono Term Extension Act.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be used for "any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a reproduction for purposes in excess of Fair Use, that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Fair Use (17 U.S.C. § 107)
According to United States copyright law, the determination of Fair Use is subject to the following factors:
1. Purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit education purposes;
2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

Educational Use Exemptions (17 U.S.C. § 110)
Section 110 (1) exempts from infringement liability the performance or display of a copyrighted work in the course of face-to-face teaching activities by a nonprofit educational institution in a classroom or similar setting.

Section 110 (2) exempts from liability the transmission of a performance or display of a copyrighted work if (1) the performance or display is a regular part of the systematic instructional activities of the nonprofit educational institution; (2) the performance of display is directly related and of material assistance to the teaching content of the transmission; and (3) the transmission is made primarily for reception in classrooms or similar places or by persons to whom the transmission is directed because of their disabilities.

The contents of this page were last revised in February 2004.

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