Intellectual Property Law

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I am conducting a study on Mindfulness through a major

I am conducting a...

I am conducting a study on Mindfulness through a major public university. As part of the study, I will be distributing four 40 minute long nature-audio tracks to no more than 100 participants. No persons stand to gain financially from the study, and no monies are ever exchanged between participants and researchers. Are there any precautions I need to take pertaining to copyright laws?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because education law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

North Carolina

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?

No, and no.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No thanks!

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Answered in 41 minutes by:
3/10/2018
Attorney Wendy
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,192
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
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Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney. I am currently working on a response to your question and should have a response to you shortly.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you, Wendy!

You are right to consider the copyright implications of use of the audio tracks. Generally, copyrighted works cannot be used without the permission of the holder of the copyright, even if no money is to be made by the use. That said, there is some availability to use copyrighted material for educational purposes under the Fair Use Doctrine. This link provides a summary of fair use: https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html - the factors summarized here come from federal law (17 U.S.C. Section 107).

The purpose and character for which you seek to use the materials fits under this doctrine. Some of the other considerations may lean more towards necessitating permission for use even in educational situations. The actual statutory language leans toward protecting those who use copyrighted materials for research from most infringement actions. The other factors include the nature of the copyrighted work (in other words is it the type of work that society wants to protect to encourage future creation of similar kinds of works), the amount of the copyrighted work used in comparison to its whole (is it an entire song or album or just part, an entire book or only a chapter, etc.), and the effect of the use on the market value of the work. Only the nature of the work and possibly (I'm not sure exactly what is being included in your audio tracks) the portion used as related to the size of the entire work could possibly raise concerns. But overall analysis tends to support your use, particularly when being used for research purposes. I would, as a practical matter, ask that participants return or destroy the audio tracks after they are done using them for your purpose.

Most universities are well versed in how far the fair use doctrine may protect educational activities and I certainly wouldn't hesitate to find the person at your university who handles these matters to get the school's position and to be sure you are aware of any policies the university has in place regarding the use of copyrighted works.

I hope this helps. If you need anything further, please reply to this email. If I answered your question and provided excellent service, I would greatly appreciate your 5 star rating at this time.

​Please note: This information is ​for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No course of action has been proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege has been formed as a result of this conversation.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you so much! This is just what I needed to get started in the right direction. That link will be a great reference, and I will definitely consult someone at the university before distributing. Again, thank you for the awesome response:)

I am so glad it was helpful. Best of luck with your study; it sounds quite interesting!

Attorney Wendy
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,192
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
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