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Legal Information for Web Pages

While you will find a significant amount of legal information in FindLaw's Cyberspace Law Center and the United States Copyright Office, the following outlines some basic rules for Internet work.

Both copyrighted material and public domain works are found on the Internet. The fact that the most people have the technology to copy these works does not mean they can be legally reproduced and reused without permission or royalty payment. As with print and audio media, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder in order to reproduce the work in its entirety. By practice, it is considered most ethical to e-mail the Web administrator of the page to request permission to link to his/her page or to use his/her content on your site. For the latter, you must properly cite the source to a) not be guilty of plagiarism and b) add credibility to your own content.

Fair use allows for:
  1. Motion Media
    "Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted motion media work." (see Section 4.2.1) NOTE: Fair use of copyrighted motion media materials also permits duplication, including same format duplication (VHS to VHS) as well as cross format duplication (film to VHS, phonograph record to tape cassette etc.), if the copyrighted material is "out-of-print," attempts to reach the copyright holder have proved unsuccessful, and a copy is needed to protect the integrity of the original.
  2. Text Material
    "Up to 10% or 1,000 words, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted work consisting of text material." (see Section 4.2.2)
  3. Music
    "Up to 10%, but in no event more than 30 seconds, of the music and lyrics from an individual musical work." (see Section 4.2.3)
  4. Photographs or Illustrations
    "The reproduction or incorporation of photographs and illustrations is more difficult to define with regard to fair use because fair use usually precludes the use of an entire work. Under these guidelines a photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety but no more than 5 images by an artist or photographer may be reproduced. When using photographs and illustrations from a published collective work, not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, may be reproduced." (see Section 4.2.4)
  5. Numerical Data Sets
    "Up to 10% or 2,500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less, from a copyrighted database or data table may be reproduced." (see Section 4.2.5)

According to Findlaw.com, recent legislation (i.e., the "Net Act") permits federal prosecution of large-scale, willful copyright infringement even when the infringer does not act for a commercial purpose or for private financial gain.

Visit www.luc.edu/resources/copyright for copyright information as it pertains to Loyola University Chicago Websites.