Intellectual Property

Copyright Decision Guide

Copyright law is intended to be format neutral. There may be specific considerations in analyzing the use of copyrighted material in analog (paper) or digital format; however if a use is allowed (or not) in analog format a similar use would be allowed (or not) in digital format.

Answering the following questions will help you determine if permission is needed.

Do I own the rights to this material?

If you created the content and have retained copyright ownership, you can use it. If the College retains copyright ownership you can use the material for official purposes or teaching at the College. The Intellectual Property Policy provides more information regarding copyright ownership at LDS Business College.

Do you already have permission to use the copyrighted work?

Is the work in the public domain?

Works in the public domain are those whose intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable. This chart by Peter Hirtle at Cornell Univeristy is useful for determining the copyright status of works published in the United States. Works in the public domain include the following:

  1. Anything published by a U.S. Government Office or Agency is not copyrighted and is available for your use.
  2. Most materials published prior to 1923 are now in the public domain.
  3. Materials clearly and explicitly donated to the public domain can be freely used without permission.

Is the work already licensed for your use?

Check to see if the work has a Creative Commons license. Look for these symbols to understand the appropriate uses:

CC Attribution

This license allows you to distribute, change, and build upon the work as long as you indicate what changes have been made and credit the original creation by including the name of the creator, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. All Creative Commons licenses are based upon this attribution license and have the same requirements for giving credit to the original work.

CC Attribution-ShareAlike

This license allows you to distribute, change, and build upon the work, but requires you to release your new version under the same license. This license is the basis of open source works and allows multiple people to improve upon the work of others. There are no restrictions on this license for commercial use.

CC Attribution-NoDerivs

This license allows for commercial or non-commercial redistrubtion as long as the original is unchanged and the original work is given appropriate credit (as described under the Attribution license).

CC Attribution-NonCommercial

This license allows you to distirbute, change, and build upon the work in a non-commercial way. This means you cannot charge for your work to change or adapt the original and distribution must also be non-commercial.

CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

This license allows you to distribute, change, and build upon the original work non-commercially and requires you to release your new version under the same license.

CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

This license allows for non-commercial redistribution only and the original work must be given apporpriate credit and remain unchanged.

If you found this item on the Church website (Ensign article, media video), it is okay for you to use this item in a nonprofit education setting within the LDS Business College community through either face-to-face instruction or LMS distribution without specific permission. For uses with wider distribution, particularly those on the internet, permission must be granted through the process outlined on the Church website. Please note that not all products, publications, images, and other content published by the Church is owned by the Church.

If you found this item on the library website, it is probably okay for you to use this item in a nonprofit education setting within the LDS Business College community setting. However, please check with Sarah Sorenson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to make sure your use meets the terms of our license agreement.

Can you link to the item? In many instances, you can use content that is legally available to the public online or accessible through LDS Business College journal subscriptions by simply linking to it.

Is your use of the copyrighted work permissible under the Fair Use Doctrine?

The purpose of the fair use provision is to allow limited use of copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the copyright owner. To apply fair use to your situation, conduct a reasoned analysis considering all of the fair use factors explained in the Fair Use section of this website.

Classroom Performances and Displays—Including Digital Transmissions

Face-to-Face Classroom: Section 110 (1)

Educators and students may perform or display a copyrighted work in the course of face-to-face teaching at a nonprofit educational institution in a classroom or other place normally devoted to instruction. See the Teaching and Copyright section of this website for more information.

Distance Education—Including Digital Transmission: Section 110 (2) (TEACH)

Section 110 (2) was recently revised by enactment of the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH) which allows the digital transmission of performances and displays of copyrighted works, without having to obtain prior permission from the copyright owner, as part of synchronous or asynchronous distance education applications if specific requirements are met. See the Teaching and Copyright section of this website for more information.

How do you plan to use the content?

Your proposed specific use of material protected by copyright will effect whether you can claim an exception (limitation on exclusive rights) thus not needing permission. Generally, the larger proportion of the copyrighted work you use and the broader the copying and distribution of the copyrighted work, the more likely you will need to seek permission. For example, posting a complete copy of the copyright work on a public website would in most instances require permission.

Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Law gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive rights to do and to authorize to do the following:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Prepare derivative works based upon the work
  • Distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental lease, or lending
  • Perform the work publicly
  • Display the copyrighted work publicly
  • Perform the work publicly by means of digital audio transmission, in the case of sound recordings
  • Certain rights of attribution and integrity, in the case of works of visual art

Whenever your proposed use of material protected by copyright goes beyond what is allowed by exceptions (limitations on exclusive rights) contained in the U.S. Copyright Law, permission should be obtained.

Copyright Decision Flowchart

Faculty: This Copyright Decision Flowchart will help you decide if permission is needed.

Students: This Student Copyright Decision Aid will help you decide if permission is needed.