Off Campus Access

New Books


Check My Account

Renew Books

Inter-Library Loans (outside of the Consortium)



What was the catalyst for Copyright Protection?
The drive for copyright protection began in the 16th century in response to Johannes Guttenberg’s invention of the movable type printing press.  This new technology threatened the early church’s monopoly on the dissemination of information. In the United States the first copyright law was passed in 1790 and was focused on giving authors some protection for their work but at the same time allow creativity. Since then the laws have been revised multiple time.  Advancements in technology continue to challenge the concept of copyright.

Court cases have established the doctrine of Fair Use which allows limited use of copyrighted materials and the Teach Act which further codified educators rights in relation to using copyrighted works in a distance education class. Some tools to help in determing what use of copyrighted material is allowed are listed below. 


Copyright Crash Course -Georgia Harper, Scholarly Communications Advisor for the University of Texas at Austin Libraries has developed this course and licensed it using Creative Commons.  

Does Fair Use or the Teach Act apply?
Fair Use Checklist

Teach Act Checklist

Additional Copyright Resources:
Government Copyright Office

Coalition for Networked Information Policies (CONTU)

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

Copyright and Fair Use from Stanford University Libraries

Creative Commons


 Copyright revisions and changes

1976- The Copyright Reform Act which preempted all previous copyright, extended the term of protection the codified the doctrine of fair use and extended copyright protection to unpublished works.

1976- The National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) was formed by Congress to decide “minimum standards for fair use” and to help libraries apply these standards to Inter-Library Loans.

1988 -The U.S. signed the Berne Convention entering into copyright relationships with 25 other countries, tightening restrictions and no longer requiring the copyright notice for a work to be protected. Basically once something is written it is protected by copyright.

1994- the Working Group sponsored the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU). Attendees collaborated and developed guidelines for use of educational multimedia and proposed guidelines in a number of areas including electronic reserves, digital images, interlibrary loan, and distance education.

1998- The Digital Millennium Copyright Act extendsthe reach of Copyright on the Internet while limiting liability for online service providers. It prevented the circumvention of technological protection systems.

1998- The Sonny Bono Term Extension Act, also called the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, extended copyright protection to the length of the author’s life plus 70 years Libraries, Archives and non-profit educational institutions to treat a work in its last 20 years of protection as if it is in the public domain, under strict guidelines. 

2002- The Teach Act allows teachers in Distance Education Programs leeway in what resources they can use in their classrooms.

And so it continues, for a more detailed time line with explanations go to the Association of Research Libraries website.