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Sep 23 / Copyright@WSULS

“Happy Birthday” Song in Public Domain

Rest easy, everyone. You can perform your stunning rendition of the Happy Birthday song without paying royalties!

Judge rules ‘Happy Birthday’ song is in public domain (Detroit Free Press)

Questions about Copyright?

Feb 23 / Copyright@WSULS

Celebrate Fair Use Week!

February 23-27, 2015 is Fair Use Week!

                Can I make a copy of this article?

                May I share this material with my class?

                Will posting this work to Blackboard violate copyright?

Fair Use Week is an annual celebration of the important doctrines of fair use and fair dealing. It is designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate success stories, and explain these doctrines.”

Fair use doctrines permit limited use of copyrighted materials without acquiring permission from the copyright holders.

The Wayne State University Library System offers a number of helpful resources to help you answer your copyright and fair use questions.

Did you know we have a Copyright Decision Tree to help you stay copyright compliant?

We also offer an Interactive Fair Use Checklist to help you determine whether or not your use is “fair”.

Are you an instructor who would like some assistance providing full-text access to materials for your class? Use our Permalink Request Form.

For more information, please visit

Oct 21 / Copyright@WSULS

Georgia State University Copyright Appeal Ruling

You may be familiar with the Georgia State University e-reserves copyright case, ruled on by Judge Evans in the Northern District of Georgia on May 11, 2012.

To refresh: a number of publishers – including Oxford, Cambridge, and Sage, funded largely by the Copyright Clearance Center – brought the suit against Georgia State University claiming the university engaged in “systematic, widespread and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works” through its e-reserves system.

Judge Evans ruling in the case was widely considered a victory for libraries, as she found copyright infringement in only five of the 99 specific readings challenged in the case.

As you may expect, the case has been in appeal since that time.

On October 17, 2014, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling, reversing the District Court’s judgment and remanding the case back for proceedings in light of the Court of Appeals ruling.

Concerning Judge Evans’ original analysis, the Appeals Court found errors in her interpretation of the second and third fair use factors. To summarize, she cannot presume all of the works in question are “informational” and a case-by-case evaluation is necessary. Furthermore, her ruling that a firm 10% or one chapter was fair use was considered too rigid by the Appeals Court. The Appeals ruling also informed Judge Evans to give more weight to the fourth factor – concerning market harm.

For more detailed reading, both Nancy Sims at the University of Minnesota and Kevin Smith at Duke University have written detailed analyses here and here.

As an instructor at Wayne State, linking to resources owned/subscribed to by the library system is a surefire way to ensure copyright-compliance in your instruction. Would you like help creating permalinks to library resources in Blackboard? The Libraries can help! Submit a Permalink Request Form here:

Feb 24 / Copyright@WSULS

Fair Use Week 2014

February 24-28 is Fair Use Week!

With efforts from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), Harvard University is the “beta” site for the first annual Fair Use Week.

Here is what they have planned:

  • Monday, 2/24: Krista Cox (ARL Director of Public Policy Initiatives) guest blogs
  • Tuesday, 2/25: Kevin Smith (Director of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke) guest blogs
  • Wednesday, 2/26: Kenneth Crews (Director of the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia) guest blogs
  • Thursday, 2/27: Harvard Law Professor Terry Fisher’s new fair use CopyrightX video will be featured on the blog
  • Friday, 2/28: Fair Use Week Panel at 2:30 in the Lamont Forum Room, featuring Andy Sellers (Harvard’s Berkman Center), Ann Whiteside (Harvard’s Graduate School of Design), Laura Quilter (UMass Amherst), and Ellen Duranceau (MIT)

The blog may be found here:
Twitter hashtag #FairUseWeek

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.
Copyright@Wayne State University Libraries
Scholars Cooperative

Jan 13 / Copyright@WSULS

Copyright Week from Electronic Frontier Foundation

There has been a lot of talk recently about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the copyright provisions in the agreement.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has started Copyright Week in response to the TPP and these copyright provisions.

For more information, see the following:
Don’t Let Congress Fast-Track TPP
Why Should I Care About the TPP” (video)
Copyright Week

Nov 15 / Copyright@WSULS

Google Book Case Dismissed: Fair Use Upheld

Yesterday, after eight years of litigation, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the Authors Guild v. Google case, ruling that Google’s scanning of over 20 million copyright-protected books is within fair use.

For more in depth analysis of the case, see the blog post of Dr. Kenneth Crews, Director of Columbia University’s Copyright Advisory Office.

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) released an ACRL Insider update which details the Library Copyright Alliance’s work in this case, including the amicus brief they filed, and  the importance of this case to education, research, and libraries.

For more information on Fair Use, including our Interactive Fair Use Checklist, please see

Oct 31 / Copyright@WSULS

The Good News about Library Fair Use

In January 2012, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) published the “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.”  This code is “a clear and easy-to-use statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use developed by and for librarians who support academic inquiry and higher education”.

Very recently, the ARL, along with American University’s (AU) Washington College of Law, and AU’s School of Communication, issued an infographic entitled “The Good News about Library Fair Use.”  This infographic is a useful and informative graphical presentation of the basic case for fair use, best practices, and the Code mentioned above.

You can access the infographic in various formats here.

As always, if you have any questions about Fair Use, contact us at or go to Copyright@WSULS.




Oct 31 / Copyright@WSULS

Copyright Questions? We Can Help.

Do you have copyright questions?  Do you want to make sure the materials you are using in your research and instruction are copyright compliant?  What is considered “fair use”?  What materials are in the “public domain”?

Welcome to Copyright@WSULS.  We can help you answer these questions and assist you in staying copyright compliant.

Aside from basic copyright information, we have a couple of useful tools for you to use.

  • Copyright Decision Tree: A helpful step-by-step decision tree to provide you with guidance in using desired materials in your instruction
  • Fair Use Checklist: An interactive checklist that will help you determine whether or not your intended use leans towards “fair”

You can also reach us at with specific copyright questions or concerns you may have.

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