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Copyright and Use of Items
April 3, 2010 (published) | May 29, 2015 (revised)
Peggy Hall; Charlotte Waack; Debbie Friedler

Copyright and Use of items on/in/from Veterinary Information Network ™ (VIN) and Veterinary Support Personnel Network (VSPN) ® and www.VeterinaryPartner.com

General overview:

  1. Copyright law gives the creator exclusive right to control who can make copies, or make works derived from the creator’s original work (Templeton, 2008).
  2. Copyright occurs and is valid the moment an item is written, created, or produced; no copyright notice is required.
  3. Copyright rules and regulations stand regardless of whether someone pays for a copyrighted item or gets it for free.
  4. Although Internet posts and web pages may be accessible, this does not mean there is permission to copy information without the written consent of the author unless it is duly noted on that website.
  5. “Fair use” rules require closer scrutiny and often it’s better to just reword the information yourself. See the section entitled “Fair Use (also called Fair Dealing) Policy” for more specifics on Fair Use Policy. 
  6. Copyright law is majorly concerned with works that offer a commercial value. That does not mean noncommercial productions are out of the scope; it’s all relative to the user and abuser.
  7. http://www.copyright.gov for all non-VIN information regarding copyright.

Copyright in VIN/VSPN world – rules and policies of and for all of VIN and its partners taken from VIN Policies: http://www.vin.com/members/cms/project/default.aspx?id=473

Posting Material on VIN and its partners (copyright rules)

  1. You may post material on VIN only if you are the copyright owner of such material, you have permission from the copyright owner, the material is in the public domain, or the material falls within the “fair use” doctrine or some statutory exception.
  2. Once posted on VIN, the message board information is copyrighted to VIN.
  3. It is VIN's policy to request the permission of VIN members before using their words in any other format.
  4. Anyone desiring to reuse any content on VIN should contact the VIN office (VINGRAM@vin.com) or Dr. Paul Pion (Paul@vin.com) to request use of content. We will do all we can to rapidly request permission to either reuse the content in the original form or as edited by the posting member. Without exception:
    1. the posting member must not be contacted directly, without permission of the posting member, and
    2. the content/quotes may not be used for any purpose (other than personal use or limited distribution to a few colleagues for noncommercial purposes), unless VIN grants explicit permission.
  5. These policies have been created to allow VINners as much freedom as possible, while being respectful of members’ privacy.


Notice of Copyright (http://www.copyright.gov)
Other than for certain benefits, such as damage claims, the use of a copyright notice is no longer required under United States law due to requirements established at the Berne Convention on March 1, 1980. Original material created PRIOR TO March 1, 1980 still requires copyright notice. Use of the copyright notice informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. The use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.

Who Can Claim Copyright?
Copyright protection exists from the time the work is created in a fixed form and becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.

  1. In the case of works made for hire, the employer and not the employee is considered to be the author. Work made for hire is defined as work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment or a work specially ordered or commissioned for use such as a contribution to a collective work, any audiovisual work, a translation, a supplementary work, a compilation, an instructional text, a test or answer material for a test, or an atlas.
  2. The authors of a joint work are co-owners of the copyright in the work, unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
  3. Copyright in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of the contribution.


NOTE: Ownership of a book, manuscript, painting, or any other copy or phonorecord does not give the possessor of that material ownership of the copyright.

What Works Are Protected?
A copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression.

Copyrightable works include the following categories:

  1. literary works (including computer programs, compilations, etc.)
  2. musical works, including any accompanying words
  3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works
  5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works (including maps, tables, etc.)
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  7. sound recordings
  8. architectural works (including plans, designs, etc.)


What Is Not Protected by Copyright? (http://www.copyright.gov)
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others:

  1. works that have not been placed in a tangible form of expression; work has not been written or recorded.
  2. titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents. These usually fall under ‘trademark’ designations and adhere to trademark™ policies.
  3. ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration. These may be trademarked items or patented items and adhere to those policies.
  4. works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: items taken from public documents or other common sources such as calendars, weights and measures, etc.)


Making copies
In its simplest form making copies is making copies. Computers have added some recent complications, like the temporary copies in packet buffers or on screens, and copies left on backup tape. But you can go pretty far by assuming that just about any computerized operation on a work involves copying it.

Fair Use (also called Fair Dealing) Policy
Fair Use or Fair Dealing policy in accordance with copyright law allows certain types of copying without seeking advance permission in specific areas only. This is a very detailed and difficult policy - and often it’s best to revise the information for the new work rather than risk misusing a copyrighted work.

  • If a copyrighted work is used as an example for jest, teaching, or research some limited use can be done without copyright permission. For example you can quote excerpts to show how poor the writing quality is. You can teach a course about an author, for example, and quote lines from the works to the class to do so.
  • NOTE: Fair Use is NOT freedom to copy if the resulting creation is not charged for or it is used in education. When in doubt, use proper copyright inclusion or links to an item and include appropriate citations and or references. (But remember, simply citing authority does not guarantee compliance with copyright laws.)


The Internet
Fast and general rule: If you didn't write it, and you want to reproduce it, ask the creator, or make sure your use is legal, appropriate to the work and its intended use.

Linking (from/to the Internet)
Linking to a web site should not infringe any of the rights of the copyright holder. It is best to include where the information was retrieved from and when (retrieved May 1, 2010 from XYZ URL).

Form of Notice for Visually Perceptible Copies
Reference to a copyrighted work should contain all the following:

  1. The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.”
  2. The year of first publication of the work or the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work.
  3. The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner. Example: © 2008 John Doe


Publications Incorporating U. S. Government Works
Works by the U. S. government are not eligible for U. S. copyright protection. Example: © 2008 Jane Brown. Copyright claimed in chapters 7–10, exclusive of U. S. government maps

Unpublished Works
The author or copyright owner may wish to place a copyright notice on any unpublished copies, manuscripts, or phonorecords that leave his or her control. Example: Unpublished work © 2008 Jane Doe

Visual Arts
It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of copyright. Limitations that are specified exemptions from copyright liability include:

  1. Fair Use.
  2. Compulsory License (limited use of copyrighted works permitted upon payment of specified royalties and compliance with statutory conditions).


How to Secure a Copyright (http://www.copyright.gov)
**Copyright is secured automatically upon creation
A work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. Phonorecords are material objects that record sounds. Publication is when copies or phonorecords are offered for sale or lease for the purpose of further distribution, public performance, or public display.

How Long Copyright Protection Endures
Works Originally Created on or after January 1, 1978

  1. Any work created on or after January 1, 1978 is automatically considered copyrighted for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death.
  2. Joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire is copyrighted initially in the same manner with the term of 70 years after the last surviving author’s death.
  3. Made for hire, anonymous, and pseudonymous works are copyrighted upon creation and last for a term of 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.


Transfer of Copyright
Copyright is a personal property right, and it is subject to the various state laws and regulations that govern the ownership, inheritance, or transfer of personal property as well as terms of contracts or conduct of business.

International Copyright Protection
There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the entire world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries do offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions, and these conditions have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions. More at (http://www.copyright.gov)

Copyright Registration Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright.


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