Don't Steal

Hey! We know copyright can be complicated and we want you to maintain your integrity. Below are some common scenarios that may be close to what you want to do. Find out what's what.

Scenario 1: How important is citing my sources?
Ryan cuts and pastes parts of online papers and websites to write his own paper the night before it is due. He thinks as long as he doesn't take a whole paper word for word, he'll be okay. Is this legal?

Resolution 1

If he cites his sources and does not copy an entire paper, it is technically not plagiarism and may not be a copyright violation. However, it may fall under penalties in the Honor Code. Be Smart! Do you own work!

Scenario 2: Can I use online pictures in my class projects?
Katy has a collage for her intro level art class. She doesn't have time to go out and take pictures so she simply Googles some pictures. Since many of the images come off of websites like Flickr, she thinks they are not copyrighted. Is she right in thinking this?

Resolution 2

Any created work, with or without the � or � symbol, is automatically protected by statutory copyright. She has options, though. There are numerous websites that offer free clip art and a search for "royalty free images" that will often produce pictures that are exempt from copyright laws. Also she needs to be sure that she is completing the assignment as intended by her instructor.

Scenario 3: Are songs on my CDs fair game to use?
David is in a Production Methods 1 class and decides to add some Rage Against the Machine during a fight scene. Further, he plans on submitting it to Black Glasses. He owns the CD and thinks he has the rights to that song. Is he okay?

Resolution 3

Not in this time. The fact of the matter is that he is using someone else's song that is copyrighted and he has not been given the rights to use the song, even if he give credit to the artist in the movie's final credits. Unless David has cleared the license with the record company, he does not have the right to use the song. He will have to remove the song and use music he has created or obtained permission to use.

Scenario 4: Can I show a commercial movie on campus?
William has been collecting DVD's forever and he has brought quite a few to campus with him. Since he has such a large and varied collection, he wants to be able to view these movies with his friends, neighbors and members of the student organization that he belongs to. Can he do this at Baylor?

Resolution 4

It depends.

1) Yes! William can watch movies in his dorm room with his roommate and a few friends. The movies that he purchased are for home use and while he lives in the residence hall this is considered his home. He may also watch a movie in the lobby of his residence hall with a few friends. Just do not do any public advertising like putting up flyers saying “Come watch Pirates of Caribbean at 8:00 for National Pirates Day.”

2) He may not use his movies to show at a student organization activity because this would be considered a public viewing and all public viewings require a license to avoid a copyright violation. However the good news is that he may show movies if, as Baylor recommends, he use a service such as Swank Motion Pictures, Inc to license the movie for public viewing. The price for the license will vary depending on how the movie is going to be used, how many people plan to attend and whether admission is charged. To find out more about licensing check out what Baylor's Student Life advises you to do regarding movies and student organization activities.

Scenario 5: Is it okay to record cover songs?
Ashley is a singer-songwriter who writes her own songs, but she also likes to record herself performing other people's songs for practice. She then uploads them on to her BearSpace web account so that anyone can listen to her music and so that she can get some feedback. She gives the original artists credit, citing them every time she performs their songs. Is this legal?

Resolution 5

Unfortunately not! Ashley will need take down from the website her recordings of other artist's songs. The lyrics and the music are copyrighted by the artists who created them. Ashley does not have permission to perform that music and distribute her performance on her website or any other web site for that matter. She can however post her own music on the website that would be fine.

Scenario 6: Can I use this in my portfolio?
Jenny is a Senior fashion design major; she has presented her Senior collection in the department style show and the music she used for the show she purchased from the iTunes store. The department recorded the show and has given each Senior a DVD of the show as a remembrance of this big event. Jenny wants to clip out her portion of the show and create an e-portfolio demonstrating her design capabilities to show to potential employers. Is this legal?

Resolution 6

The answer depends on how Jenny distributes her e-portfolio. If all she does is put the show a CD/DVD that she makes, than she can make copies of the show with her music and distribute her e-portfolio to potential employers; however, if she wants to put her e-portfolio on a website than she will need to remove the music to avoid copyright infringement. Jenny's best choice would be to find non-copyrighted music to use during her show; this will keep her completely safe from any copyright violation. She can visit sites listed on the Free Stuff to find music she can use.

Another factor that Jenny will need to consider is her models' privacy. She should ensure that all the models used during her show have completed the Baylor photography release form. These forms should be kept by her academic department.

Scenario 7: I did this for class; can I include it in my e-portfolio?
Suzie is a student teacher and she is recording segments of her teaching for inclusion in her e-portfolio. She has set the camera so that only the she is being recorded. One of her lessons is a theatrical reading of an excerpt from the book A Wrinkle in Time followed by a group discussion. She also has recorded a segment where she is teaching the class how to sing This Land is Your Land. Both of these activities are ones that Suzie's wishes to use in her e-portfolio but both segments use copyrighted material. Can she use these recordings in her e-portfolio?

Resolution 7

Again the answer depends on how Suzie plans to distribute her e-portfolio.

As long as she is creating a CD/DVD to show perspective employers, she can include both these activities in her e-portfolio even though the book and the song are copyrighted. However, should she put her portfolio on a website for distribution then the copyrighted materials should not be included.