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Texas State University

Copyright Glossary

Computer Software
Programs, routines, and symbolic languages that control the functioning of computer hardware and direct its operation.

Copyright Advisory Committee
A standing committee with representatives from various Texas State divisions and departments that have an interest in copyright issues. The committee keeps abreast of trends in copyright law especially those affecting academic institutions. Examples include developments in institutional copyright policies, changes in copyright ownership and licensing models, concepts of fair use and academic freedom. The committee makes findings and recommendations regarding the University's Copyright Policy, especially with respect to technological advances and strategies for increasing campus awareness about copyright issues. The committee may also assist in resolving conflicts related to copyright ownership.

Copyright Office
Advises faculty, staff, and students regarding copyright questions arising from research, publication, teaching, and other scholarly activities. The Copyright Office helps faculty, staff, and students interpret and apply statutory and common law exceptions in copyright law (e.g. , Fair Use, TEACH Act) where feasible and, where necessary, obtain use permissions from copyright holders. The Copyright Office is also responsible for the university's copyright education and infringement deterrence programs.

Copyrighted Work
An original work of authorship which has been fixed in any tangible medium of expression from which it can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, including but not limited to, books, journals, software, computer programs, musical works, dramatic works, videos, multimedia products, sound recordings, and pictorial and graphical works. A copyrighted work may be the product of a single author or a group of authors who have collaborated on a project.

An individual who invents, discovers, authors, or otherwise develops intellectual property in the form of written works, sound recordings, paintings, renderings, drawings, photographs, software, etc.

Creative Commons License
One of several copyright licenses that provides for the distribution of copyrighted works by allowing a creator to give others the right to share, use, and even build upon a work that they have created. These licenses give authors flexibility in how they wish to license and distribute content to others. Content users benefit from having a wide selection of content that is available to use so long as they abide by the terms of the license.

Derivative Works
A copyrighted creation based on one or more previous or preexisting works including an adapted form of an original work such as a screenplay based on a novel or a new sound recording of an old song or mash-up. Only the owner of the original work can produce or permit another to produce a derivative work.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
A United States copyright law that criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing access controls, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet and extends the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of online service providers.

Directed Work
A directed work is one that is created as a part or in fulfillment of a direct assignment or request from a university authority.

Dispute Resolution
The procedures outlined in the Copyright Policy to resolve matters relating to the interpretation or application of copyright law and university policy.

Faculty and Staff Works
Intellectual property created by Texas State University faculty or staff (see also works for hire).

Fair Use
A legal doctrine that refers to certain limited uses of otherwise copyrighted works without permission from the copyright holder. The concept of Fair Use is codified at Title 17 of the United States Code Secs. 107-118. Fair Use may be raised as a defense to a claim of copyright infringement. Fair Use is determined on a case-by-case basis using a four part analysis using the following four factors:

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is commercial in nature or is for non-profit educational use;
  • The nature of the copyrighted work;
  • The amount or portion of the work used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Instructional Materials
Works delivered face-to-face or across a network using traditional technologies (e.g., printed text and photographs, microformats, analog recordings, etc.) or newer and evolving technologies (e.g., courseware, streaming audio/video, websites, computer software, virtual reality simulations, etc.), and combinations of the above that are prepared or produced in whole or in part by an instructor to assist or enhance student learning.

Joint Works
Intellectual property that is the result of contributions made by more than one creator or author (e.g., a book consisting of text written by one author and illustrated with drawings by an artist; the book is a joint work in that both have contributed creative content).

Non-dramatic Musical Work
Musical works, such as popular songs, not incorporated and performed in a ballet, musical, opera, play or similar musical production. A song incorporated into a music video where scenes or a storyline are performed may be considered a dramatic work.

Notice of Copyright
A statement or service mark alerting or reminding users of their responsibility to respect copyrights when copying or distributing copies of copyrighted works. For example:

Notice: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this equipment is liable for any infringement.

Non-Directed Work
A Non-directed work results from the creator's own initiative and independent efforts. The general obligation of faculty to produce scholarly works does not constitue a directed assignment and works created under that general obligation are typically non-directed. Similarly, works created by students to satisfy academic program requirements are typically non-directed, whereas works created by student employees to satisfy student employment work or job assignments are considered to be directed works.

Written authorization from a work's creator to engage in one or more of the rights reserved to the creator under copyright law. Depending on the type of work, a number of organizations exist to help individuals obtain copyright permissions. These organizations include the Copyright Clearance Center (scholarly articles), ARTstor (images), and ASCAP (music). Obtaining permission to use copyrighted material may require payment of a fee.

Private Performance
A performance held in a non-public, non-commercial setting such as an individual home with a limited number of people in attendance (e.g., the viewing of a movie with friends or family as opposed to a public performance which might include showing a video in a restaurant or other public venue or charging admission).

Public Domain
Works that are not subject to copyright and may be used freely by anyone. A vast number of works fall within the Public Domain and include works that were published before copyright laws came into existence, works for which the copyright has expired, works for which copyright protection was lost or never acquired, works placed in the Public Domain by the owner, or works never entitled to copyright protection. Works not entitled to copyright protection include ideas, facts, and many but not all, works produced by the government of the United States.

Public Performance
To perform or display a work “publicly” means (1) to perform or display the work at a place open to the public or any gathering of a substantial number of persons outside of family or friends; or (2) to transmit a performance or display of the work to the public, by means of any device or process. See 17 United States Code, Section 101.

A payment made to a copyright owner for the privilege of using his or her work.

Having or displaying advanced knowledge or education especially when focused in a relatively narrow field of inquiry.  In the academic world, scholarly work is typically reviewed by experts in the field.  This is generally known as juried or peer review.

Programs, routines, and symbolic languages that control the functioning of computer hardware and direct its operation.


The provision of resources (e.g., funds, property, facilities, equipment, or staff) to enable the creation of a copyrighted work.

Texas State Resources
The funds, space, equipment, facilities, or personnel (employees and contracted staff) administered by Texas State University in meeting its mission. These resources are considered substantial if they exceed the resources routinely used by an individual in their university role. Examples of substantial resources include: (i) the purchase of special software, databases, or equipment beyond that normally needed for the individual’s university duties; (ii) the use of university instructional design resources in the creation of an on-line course or program; or (iii) receipt of a special monetary award from the university explicitly for the creation of the work. Office space or library facilities are not considered substantial unless they exceed the amount normally afforded to an individual in performance of his or her normal university duties.

Texas State University Premises
For purposes of music licensing and performances only, both dramatic and non-dramatic, the term "premises" shall mean the Texas State University campus and associated facilities in San Marcos, the Round Rock Campus, and any other facilities owned, leased, or temporarily rented by the university.

A distinctive word, design, or graphic symbol, or combination word and design that distinguishes and identifies the goods and services of one party from those of another, such as the university’s logo and tagline (see also UPPS 01.04.11, Guidelines for Use of Texas State Logo …).

Generally refers to the use of a copyrighted work that is considered fair or allowable because the use itself is significantly different or "transformative" from the original use of the work. Examples include using a work for comment, criticism, or parody.

An original expression, in fixed or tangible form (such as paper, audiotape, CD/DVD, or digital recording) that may be entitled to copyright protection. A work may take many different forms, including art, sculpture, literature, maps, drawings, music, crafts, software and photography.

Work for Hire
A work produced either by an employee within the scope of employment or by an independent contractor under a written agreement. Also referred to as a "directed work",  "work made for hire", or "commissioned" work. This definition does not include works created by faculty or staff on their own initiative and own time without the use of substantial Texas State Resources.