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Copyright Basics: Copyright Compliance

This guide does not substitute for official legal advice or give exhaustive coverage of fair use guidelines.

Sharing Articles

Did you know that sharing an article with anyone, even a Baystate colleague, could be a violation of copyright law? Even if the library subscribes to a particular journal, the distribution of articles from within that journal could infringe on our licensing agreement with the publisher. Therefore, it is always best practice to provide a link to an article instead of the PDF file when sharing articles with colleagues. This link, often called a "persistent" or "permanent" link, will only be accessible to employees on the Baystate network, thereby avoiding any potential copyright infringement. So, how do you find and share these persistent links?!

(1) If you found the article on the open web (e.g. via Google searching) or from an open access journal (e.g. BMC Medicine), you can simply copy and paste the URL or web address into an email or a webpage.

(2) If you found the article within a library database (e.g. MEDLINE, ClinicalKey, CINAHL), look for something called a persistent, permanent, or jumpstart link. These options are typically on the abstract page or full text page of the article. Copy and paste this link into an email or use it for a hyperlink on a Baystate webpage in order to share the article with your colleagues. Or, you may find an "email" option from within the database, in which case you can send the link directly to yourself or to others. As long as the recipients are using a computer on the Baystate network, the link will take them to the full text of the article.

Copyright Considerations for Print and Other Media

Document delivery: The Library & Knowledge Services adheres to the fair use guidelines and will provide copies of articles from journals in the library’s collection that meet these guidelines. The library will not copy the contents of entire journal issues for patrons. Additionally, a warning of copyright as prescribed by the Register of Copyrights will be displayed on the request form, transmittal sheet and by all copiers

Interlibrary Loan: The library adheres to the CONTU guidelines as acceptable practice in Interlibrary Loan transactions. Any articles in excess of the guidelines will be purchased from a document supplier and a royalty fee will be paid. All documents sent from the library will contain the Copyright Warning.

Internet: In general copyright protection applies to text, photographs, graphics, etc. found on the internet. One should assume that most material is copyrighted and subject to the same fair use limitations discussed above. When in doubt, obtain permission.

AudioVisual materials: The Copyright Warning notice will appear on all AV materials. AV materials may be loaned to individuals for private use, however the materials will not be loaned to groups for public performances or screenings. No second or duplicate copy of a video will be cataloged by the library unless explicitly permitted by the holder of the copyright.  

Electronic Databases: Access to electronic databases is governed by unique licensing agreements negotiated by the institution and the database producer. Licensing agreements may be more restrictive than copyright law. Users should read the online License Agreement associated with each database. For specific questions, contact the library.

Baystate Library & Knowledge Services Copyright Policy

Adherence to the copyright law of the United States (U.S. Code, Title 17) will govern all copying or electronic reproduction of library materials. Copyright applies to the content of all knowledge-based materials (books, journals, AV materials, computer software) other than the following:

▪ works in the public domain

▪ most government publications

▪ facts

▪ ideas, processes and methods that are described within copyrighted works

▪ blank forms

 ▪ works not in a fixed tangible medium(oral presentations)  

The fair use doctrine of the Copyright Act permits reproduction under certain conditions for the purposes of education, scholarship and research. Fair use must consider the following four factors:

▪ The use must clearly be for noncommercial purposes.

▪ The amount of the work to be reproduced in relationship to the whole, i.e., what percentage of the work is to be  used

 ▪ The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

▪ The nature of the work and the medium of expression.

The library reserves the right to refuse a copying order, if it judges that fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. Individuals who willfully disregard the copyright policy do so at their own risk and assume all liability.