Note that the author of this guide is not an attorney and is providing information on copyright only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. For legal advice, please see an attorney.
Many library resources are not only copyrighted but they are in the library through license agreements. This applies mostly to online materials. Most of those databases you search to find articles on your paper topic are licensed by SDSU or by the state of South Dakota. This means that we pay for you to use the information and usually we pay each year. Licenses are usually based on a Full-Time-Equivalent Student number so we pay for approximately every 16 credits taken at SDSU. This is why, as a student, you will lose access to our databases when you graduate. An exception to this for most databases is that anyone who physically walks into the library can use the databases on our computers. After you graduate, if you desperately need to search one of our databases, pay us a visit.
In addition to databases, most online journals, magazines, and newspapers are also licensed. This means that if we stop paying the license, we lose not only those issues yet to come but those we have had online in the past. Also, to keep costs down, we often license packages of journals so we get 10 that we really want and 5 that don't really matter to us but we still get all 15 for less than individual licenses for the 10 we want. Unfortunately, packages come with some disadvantages too. They can change which journals are included without our permission. One day we may suddenly only have 9 of the journals we want and one has completely gone away.
Licenses can go above and beyond copyright restrictions and place even more limitations on your use of materials. Generally, our licenses limit what we librarians can do more than what our patrons can do. For instance, we can often not send a copy of an article we have online to another library through interlibrary loan because of the license agreements. If licenses limit the uses you can make of articles, there will be a notice in the database but generally, copyright and fair use apply to your use of licensed materials. One thing to note is that you should not send an article you got full-text in one of our databases or journals collections to a colleague or friend outside of SDSU as that does probably break our license.
Related to licenses is public performances. While this is one of the rights given to creators in the copyright law, it is also frequently governed by licenses. When you buy a video, you can buy the public performanc rights to that video although you will pay a lot more for the video with those rights than you would for the video without them. The difference comes when you want to play the video for a club meeting or for a group of students that do not make up a class. The videos and DVDs in Briggs Library do not usually have those licenses so you can use them in class under fair use but not for club meetings or other groups.
Public performance rights come into play for music (both recordings and pieces you play or sing yourself) and videos. If you want to perform a song from your favorite new group, that sounds great but you probably can't (except in the privacy of your shower). By licensing the song for your performance and you are paying for the right to perform it. Note that if you are a music student here, the music department pays for a general license allowing performances in recitals and concerts so you don't have to worry about it.
Did you know that having a song playing in the background of a video you post on YouTube is a public performance by you? This means that the owner of the copyrighted song has the right to have YouTube remove the video or they can have YouTube add advertisements to the video and any income from the advertisements goes to the copyright owner. The copyright owner could also sue you for copyright infringement although this is not likely in most cases.
Licensing applies to everyone who uses our licensed materials; however, in most cases, this just means how, when, and where you can access databases and online journals. You also may not share material from a licensed database or journal with someone who is not a current SDSU student, staff, or faculty.