Copyright Policy


This policy and guidelines are designed to ensure all faculty, staff, and students have access to consistent information on copyright in accordance with federal law.

The College is committed to supporting teaching, research, learning and nonacademic operations in the advancement of the College’s educational mission. Intellectual, technological, and information resources and materials are provided for use by the entire College community and are to be used in accordance with the provisions of the United States Copyright Act of 1976 as amended, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, and the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002, unless licenses or agreements exist which allow for exceptions. All users of such resources and materials are expected to follow the standards outlined in the College’s copyright policy and supporting guidelines.

Copyright Policy

It is the policy of the College to comply with the United States Copyright Act of 1976 as amended, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, and the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002. All reproduction or use of copyrighted materials must comply with the provisions of the law. This includes following the guidelines provided related to items in all media, such as written works, musical works, dramatic works, pictorial and graphic works, sculptural works, motion picture, television, and other audiovisual works, sound recordings, multimedia works, and digital and computer works and programs.

The College prohibits the duplication, distribution, or use of materials by faculty, students, or other employees of any copyrighted material not covered by fair use or the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002, specific exemptions in the copyright law or licenses and agreements, or written permissions from copyright holders.

All members of the College community – faculty, students, staff and administrators – are expected to adhere to the limits for copying and the use of materials in presentations in a manner permissible under the fair use doctrine and guidelines, including those specifically granted to educators in classroom settings.

In accordance with the law, violations of this policy may subject the violating party to civil remedies and criminal penalties as defined in the U.S. Copyright Act. Under the law, both individuals and the College are liable for copyright infringement. Individuals who disregard copyright law put themselves legally and financially at risk.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed in 1998 in part as a response to international concern for copyright protection, in order to provide limited protections for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and to address other related issues. The College adheres to the procedures outlined in the DMCA for responding to reports alleging copyright infringements on the College's computers and networks.

Upon receiving proper notification, as defined by the DMCA, of a potential infringing activity, the College will where possible remove or block access to the material in question, and reports of repeated copyright infringements will lead to termination of computer/network services and/or other College/legal actions for the individual(s) responsible for the violation.
The College provides copyright policy information as part of its computer and network use policy.

The DMCA requires that the College take timely action when presented with a notice that conforms to the requirements of the DMCA alleging copyright infringement on our computers or networks.

Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act

The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) was passed into law in November 2002. The TEACH Act allows faculty to use copyrighted works in digital teaching materials both for students enrolled in traditional classroom settings as well as for distance learning courses. In order to use materials that qualify under the TEACH Act, the following conditions must be satisfied:

The material must be provided at the direction of or under the supervision of a faculty member and must be an integral part of the curriculum.
The amount of material provided must be comparable to that allowed under the fair use doctrine for live classroom session (e.g., short poems or essays, or photographic images).
Notice must be provided to students that the use of materials may be subject to copyright protection.
The materials available to students can only be available for a “limited duration” (no longer than a class session).

The TEACH Act does not apply to the following:

The use of works specifically created for use as distance learning products.
The use of works that you know or have reason to believe are not lawfully made (i.e. copyrighted films and music downloaded from the Internet).
The conversion of print or other analog versions of works into digital formats unless no digital version of the work is available.

Fair Use Guidelines Of Copyrighted Materials

Fair use is a legal principle that provides certain limitations on the exclusive rights of copyright holders. The Copyright Act of 1976 recognizes the need for educators, scholars and students to use copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder. This provision is called fair use. Specifically, fair use doctrine offers a means of balancing the exclusive right of the copyright holder with the public’s interest in dissemination of information affecting areas of universal concern, such as art, science, history, or industry.

The fair use provision of the Copyright Act allows reproduction and other uses of copyrighted works under certain conditions for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reports, teaching, scholarship, and/or research. The guidelines that follow provide principles for all members of the College community who wish to use and/or digitize copyrighted works under fair use rather than by seeking authorization from the copyright owners for noncommercial educational purposes.

The key determiner of fair use is the amount of a selected work that is disseminated without permission from the copyright holder. In determining whether the use is within the fair use doctrine, the following four factors must be considered:

Four factors of fair use:

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and substance of the portion used in relation to the copyright work as a whole
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Essentially, fair use is allowed as long as the use does not affect the economic viability of the materials. Economic viability is affected if the use in question captures the “essence” of the copyrighted work. Faculty who follow these guidelines should be covered by the fair use provision of the Act. However, fair use cannot be solely determined by resort to arbitrary rules or fixed criteria and requires examination of circumstances in each case.

Fair use applies to printed and electronically stored copyrighted works. A statement of the copyright along with clear attribution must be included with each permitted use.

Examples of Uses Permitted

Copying, with clear attribution, is generally permitted in the following instances:

  • Quoting brief passages from copyrighted works
  • Copying materials for archival purposes
  • Copying excerpts from texts which are sold to students for a per-page cost. Extensive copying is prohibited. See Copying for Course Packs.
  • Making single copies of articles from a periodical, book chapters, short stories, charts, graphs, illustration or other material for instructional preparation
  • Making multiple copies for classroom use as long as:
  1. The copies are brief (poems, fewer than 200 words; articles, fewer than 2,500 words; prose excerpts not to exceed 1,000 words or 10% of the work, stories or essays, whichever is less; a graph or illustration).

  2. The copying is spontaneous (one-time use to maximize teaching effectiveness).

  3. There is no cumulative effect (only used for one course, only one work from an author or instances of multiple copying for one course).

  • Sheet music may be copied as long as it does not exceed 10% of the work and does not permit a performable unit. Works may be edited or otherwise changed as long as the overall character of the music is maintained. See Printed Music.

  • Material from the Web – such as text, sound, video, etc. – may be incorporated into a web site only if it is labeled freely reproducible and not under copyright. Many government materials are generally included in this category. It is usually permissible to include links to existing web sites on a site you have created.

Copying is not permitted in the following instances:

  • Copying that exceeds the limits defined in “Examples of Uses Permitted” above
  • Replacing published anthologies with copied materials
  • Copying “consumable” works (such as a workbook)
  • Copying in lieu of purchase
  • Copying the same material for successive semesters
  • Charging for copying beyond the actual cost of reproduction
  • Incorporating copyrighted material – such as text, sound, images, video, etc. -- into a web site without permission from the publisher or originator. Exception: limited-access web sites created by faculty and students. Faculty and students may include limited amounts of copyrighted material on their course sites as long as the site is password protected and they have followed fair use and TEACH Act guidelines.

Public Notification: Duplicating Policy

The College will post this notification at or near all computer and photocopying sites, such as departmental copy rooms, the Library, and all public computer rooms and workrooms. All students and employees are responsible for adherence to the following duplicating and fair use guidelines.

Duplicating Policy
Copying, displaying and distributing copyrighted works, may infringe the owner's copyright. The College’s Copyright Policy and Guidelines can help you determine whether your use of a copyrighted work is a fair use or requires permission. Any use of computer or duplicating facilities by students, faculty or staff for infringing use of copyrighted works is subject to appropriate disciplinary action as well as those civil remedies and criminal penalties provided by federal law.

Seeking Copyright Permission
If you seek to use copyrighted material that goes beyond fair use, you must obtain written permission from the copyright owner to copy the work. Prior to seeking permission, you should check with the Library Staff to determine whether the College maintains a licensing agreement for the work.  

The fastest way of requesting permission is to do a search on the Copyright Clearance Center’s website: http://www.copyright.com.  If the title is listed, you can select the appropriate permission option based on how the material will be used.  If you do not have an account with the Copyright Clearance Center, contact the Library Staff to discuss billing options.

If the title is not listed on the Copyright Clearance Center site, send email to the publisher.  If sending a letter by regular mail, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope and include lines at the bottom of the letter for the copyright owner to date, sign, and grant/deny permission.  You should also mail two copies of the letter so that the copyright owner can keep one and return a signed copy to you in the self-addressed, stamped envelope.  When seeking copyright permission include the following details in your request: title, author, edition, date, material to be duplicated, number of copies, distribution, purpose, and type of reprint.

It is important to maintain permanent records of permissions sought, denied, or granted.  You should keep permission letters forever to defend against claims of infringement.

For more information and samples of permission letters, see the U.S. Copyright Office.

Copyright and College Computer Resources

Campus computer resources and facilities may not be used to duplicate, share, or distribute any copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder (with the exception of instances that fall within the fair use or TEACH Act guidelines or the the College computer software guidelines).

Examples of copyrighted material include text, images, music, movies, CD’s, and DVD’s.

Further examples of prohibited activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Using peer-to-peer file-sharing programs (e.g., KaZaA) to retrieve or distribute copyrighted music, movies, software or other files over the Internet without the permission of the copyright holder.
Making copyrighted material available on an unrestricted Web site without the permission of the copyright holder. This includes copying material from another Web site and putting it on your own without the permission of the copyright holder.

Unpublished Works

Original unpublished work in any medium is assumed to be copyright protected upon creation and does not need to contain a copyright notice. All unpublished works are subject to the same general copyright guidelines stipulated throughout this document.

Published Works

Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law govern photocopying and other forms of reproduction of copyrighted materials. Section 107, the fair use clause, allows general photocopying under a specified set of conditions. Section 108 grants additional specific rights to libraries and archives in an attempt to balance the rights of creators and the needs of users. Other sections of the law also apply in specific situations. All electronic documents are subject to the same general copyright guidelines stipulated throughout this document.

Guidelines for photocopying, reproduction, and use:

Materials in the Public Domain: You may freely photocopy or reproduce any clearly uncopyrighted work and all works that are in the public domain. Works in the public domain include publications dated on or before December 31, 1922; works that do not include a copyright notice and were first published before January 1, 1978; and most works authored by the United States Government.


Date of Work

Protection in Effect from


Created 1-1-78 or after

When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression

Life + 70 years (or if work of corporate authorship, 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation, whichever is first)

Published 1922 or earlier

Now in public domain


Published between 1923-1963

When published with notice

28 years + could be renewed for 67 years; if not so renewed, now in public domain

published 1964-1977

When published with notice

28 years for first term; now automatic extension of 67 years for second term

Created before 1-1-78 but not published

1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright

Life + 70 years or 12-31-2002, whichever is greater

Created before 1-1-78 but published between then and 12-31-2002

1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright

Life + 70 years or 12-31-2047, whichever is greater


Adapted, on the basis of 1998 amendments to 1976 copyright law, from Libraries and Copyright: A Guide to Copyright Law in the 1990s, Laura N. Gasaway and Sarah K. Wiant (Washington, D.C.: Special Libraries Association, © 1994).

Works published prior to March 1, 1989, generally will include a copyright notice if they are protected. All works published on or after March 1, 1989, however, should be presumed to be copyright protected. After this date, no copyright notice is required for copyright protection – unless further information from the copyright holder or express notice reveals that the copyright holder intends the work to be in the public domain.
Copyrighted materials may be copied or otherwise used without the copyright owner's permission only when such copying constitutes fair use under the Copyright Act. See the fair use guidelines, which describe use that is for educational purposes and that is brief, spontaneous, and non-cumulative.
In order to photocopy or duplicate from print or electronic sources, you should obtain permission from the copyright owner when a) the materials are copyrighted, (b) your use exceeds what is permitted by license, and (c) your use does not fall under the fair use guidelines. In photocopying, always include appropriate citations and attributions to the source as well as any copyright notice on the original.

Specific Media

The following information provides guidance on specific media affected by copyright law.

Print (Paper and Electronic)

The applicable guidelines are under General Guidelines for Duplication and Use and Fair Use Guidelines Of Copyrighted Materials 

Copying for Course Packs

A course pack (or anthology) is a collection of articles or chapters of a book, bound together and distributed to students to augment coursework. In producing a course pack for distribution or sale, you are legally required to obtain permission from the copyright owner (usually the publisher) of all copyrighted materials. This applies whether the course pack is produced by an individual or by a copying service, either at an on-campus or off-campus location. See Seeking Copyright Permission.

Guidelines for Course Packs:

Limit materials to single chapters; single articles from a journal issue; several charts, graphs or illustrations; other similarly small parts of a work.
Each item in the packet must include a notice of copyright (e.g., “Copyright 2002 by Random House”) as well as appropriate citations and attributions to the source.
You must request permission for each semester in which the same materials or course pack is to be assigned.

If permission is not obtained, you may place the individual separate readings, not the entire bound anthology, on course reserve in the library.

Printed Music (Paper and Electronic)

Examples of Uses Permitted

Copying of printed music (paper or electronic) is permissible under the following fair use guidelines. A statement of copyright along with clear attribution of source must be included with each permitted use.

  • Emergency copying of entire works of sheet music is permitted to replace purchased copies, which for any reason are not available for an imminent performance. However, purchased replacement copies must be substituted in due course.

  • For academic purposes other than performance, single or multiple copies of excerpts of works may be made, provided that excerpts do not comprise a part of the whole which would constitute a performable unit such as a section, movement or aria, but in no case more than 10 percent of the whole work. The number of copies shall not exceed one copy per student.

  • Printed copies, which have been purchased, may be edited or simplified provided that the fundamental character of the work is not distorted, lyrics are not altered, or lyrics added if none exist.

Examples of Uses Not Permitted

Printed music (paper or electronic) may not be copied under the following fair use guidelines:

  • Copying to create or replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works is prohibited.

  • Copying of or from works intended to be “consumable” in the course of study or of teaching (such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and answer sheets) is prohibited.

  • Copying for the purpose of performance, except as in “emergency copying” above, is prohibited.

  • Copying for the purpose of substituting for the purchase of music, except as in “emergency copying” and “academic purposes” above, is prohibited.

  • Copying without inclusion of the copyright notice that appears on the printed copy is prohibited.

  • Using campus computer resources to share or distribute printed music to others without the permission of the copyright holder is prohibited. See Copyright and College Computer Resources.

For more information, see Music Library Association Copyright for Music Librarians.

Audio (Analog and Digital)

Copyright law protects live and recorded (analog or digital) audio performances and the rights to perform and/or record copyrighted works, in all sound formats, including the Web. Use of these copyrighted works may require permission from the copyright holder. In the case of music, more than one permission may be necessary—one from the composer, one from the lyricist, and one from the performer. A statement of copyright along with clear attribution of source must be included with each permitted use.

It is prohibited to use campus computer resources to share or distribute copyrighted audio material to others without the permission of the copyright holder (see Copyright and College Computer Resources.. A single copy (analog or digital) of recordings of student performances may be made for evaluation or rehearsal purposes and may be retained by the student, the individual instructor, or the College.

Musical and non-music recordings: Copying or digitizing sound recordings is prohibited unless replacement recordings from a commercial source cannot be obtained at a fair price. Recording brief excerpts is considered fair use(e.g., incorporating a piece of music into a classroom presentation or project). Faculty may make a single copy (analog or digital) for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations or for Library reserve use. A statement of copyright along with clear attribution of source must be included with each permitted use.

Film and Video

Film and video resources in all formats may only be used in face-to-face classroom instruction or for individual viewing, unless public performance or unlimited use rights have been obtained. Many videos purchased by the College are licensed for classroom use only and exclude public performance rights. The same restrictions apply to personally owned videos or those obtained from other sources. Possession of a film or video does not confer the right to show the work. The copyright owner specifies, at the time of purchase or rental, the circumstances in which a film or video may be shown. The Library may loan video resources to patrons for personal use, including those labeled “For Home Use Only.”

It is prohibited to use campus computer resources to share or distribute any type of copyrighted video and film material to others without the permission of the copyright holder. See Copyright and College Computer Resources. A statement of copyright along with clear attribution of source must be included with each permitted use.

Broadcast Programs

Recording of broadcast programs (television, radio, Webcast) is subject to the following:

  • Most broadcast recordings, when allowed, may be kept for a limited time (45 days) and must be erased when time limits expire.
  • Recorded broadcasts may be shown to students no more than twice within the first 10 class days of the 45-day retention period. The second showing may only be used as necessary for instructional reinforcement.
  • The taped broadcast recording may be viewed after the 10-day period only by instructors for evaluation purposes, that is, to determine whether to include the broadcast program in the curriculum in the future.
  • All copies of broadcast recordings must include the copyright notice on the broadcast program as recorded.
  • The broadcast recordings may not be physically or electronically altered or combined with others to form anthologies. They need not necessarily be used or shown in their entirety.
  • The time limit restrictions do not apply in the case of hard news (local, regional, or network newscasts, interviews concerning news events, and on-the-spot coverage of news events).
  • Broadcast recordings without additional permissions from the copyright holder may not be added to College collections.

Permission from the copyright holder must be obtained prior to copying any copyrighted film or videotape. Copying, as a whole or in parts, from films and videos is prohibited. Duplication from one format or standard to another (e.g., film to VHS) depends in part on the availability of the title in the alternate format or standard.

For more information, see American Library Association, Video and Copyright.

Images (Analog and Digital)

Downloading, distributing, reproducing and publishing images are subject to limitations. Faculty and students may not reproduce/publish copyrighted images without permission, except according to fair use guidelines. Images can include art, photography, graphics (such as drawings, charts, logos, and cartoons), PowerPoint presentations, animations, etc.

The following guidelines apply to the reproduction of images (35mm slides, photographs, digital images) and their use for educational purposes, including classroom use and use in multimedia creations and/or presentations.

Example of Uses Permitted

  • Using images for nonprofit and educational purposes
  • Using images for teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use)
  • Using images for research and scholarship
  • Using images for comment, criticism, review, analysis, discussion, or other similar purposes associated with instruction or scholarship

Example of Uses Not Permitted

  • Using images for commercial activity
  • Making more than one copy of a slide or digital image
  • Making images available on the Web (except on a password-protected educational site) or in another public forum
  • Using images repeatedly or long term
  • Publishing images (e.g., in an article or book) without proper permission

Faculty may display digital images for educational purposes, including face-to-face teaching of curriculum-based courses, and research and scholarly activities. They may also compile digital images for display on password-protected institutional sites to students enrolled in a course given by that faculty for classroom use, after-class review, or directed study, during the semester in which the course is given. Faculty may also use or display images in connection with lectures or presentations in their fields, including uses at non-commercial professional development seminars, workshops, and conferences.

Students may use digital images in an academic course assignment such as a term paper or thesis or in fulfillment of degree requirements. Students may also display their academic work incorporating digital images for courses for which they are registered and during formal critiques. They may also retain their academic work in the personal portfolios for later uses such as graduate school and employment applications.

Multimedia Creations and Presentations

All multimedia creations and presentations, both scholarly and artistic, are subject to the following guidelines, as developed by the Consortium of College and University Media Centers.

  • Faculty may incorporate the work of others in their multimedia creations (following fair use guidelines) to develop curriculum materials where access is limited to students enrolled in the class and others with curricular justification (with all sources acknowledged).

  • Students may incorporate the works of others into their multimedia creations (following fair use guidelines) and display them for the exclusive purpose of fulfilling their academic assignments (with all sources acknowledged).

  • Faculty and students may demonstrate their multimedia creations at professional symposia and retain their creations in their own portfolios. Display and/or dissemination are restricted to a period of two years from the time of the first instructional use or public display.

  • Retention within a portfolio does not include the right to display multimedia works in a public forum, such as the Web, unless permission from the copyright owners has been obtained for this purpose.

For more information, see the U.S. Copyright Office.

Computer Software

Copyright law protects computer software from unauthorized use and duplication. All software must also be used in accordance with the terms of its license, which usually states how programs may or may not be copied. Software documentation is also covered by copyright law and may only be copied in accordance with its software license or the general guidelines for copying printed or electronic material.

The College negotiates site licenses with selected software vendors for some of the products used most frequently on campus. For all other software, the department or end user must purchase an individual or multi-user license for each machine on which the software will be installed.

Usually, computer software may be copied for backup purposes only. With a few rare exceptions, the College software licenses do not permit use of the software on home or personally owned machines.

Users of computer software on campus must also abide by the College Computer and Network Use Policy.

For more information: Software and Information Industry Association.

Library Guidelines

Section 108 of the Copyright Law grants additional specific rights to libraries and archives in an attempt to balance the rights of copyright holders and the needs of library users.

The Library reserves the right to refuse to place items on reserve that do not comply with the copyright law, such as reproductions of entire books or entire issues of journals or course packs or other anthologies a faculty member has compiled, where permissions have not been obtained.

The Library is required to remove all course reserves at the completion of the course.  Due to copyright restrictions, the Library will place books on reserve rather than copies of chapters.

Questions regarding copyright and the use of Multi-Media music or visual course reserves should be directed to the Multi-Media librarian.

Inter library Loan
The Library obtains photocopies of journal articles or other resources from other libraries for students, faculty and staff, in compliance with subsection 108(G)(2) of the copyright law.

The Library also provides photocopies of materials in its' collections to other libraries subject to the same set of guidelines. The copy obtained through inter-library loan must become the property of the requester, and its use is limited to private study, scholarship, or research. 

When research needs require copying beyond the limits of fair use, permission to copy must be obtained from the copyright owner and/or payment of royalties may be necessary. 


The penalties for violation of federal copyright laws may be found at copyright.gov/title17/92appf.pdf. 

(This policy was found on various college web sites, particularly Ithaca College, and was edited and inserted here to ensure that all college constituents are aware of the federal laws related to copyright infringement and to comply with the federal requirement [34 C.F.R. § 668.43(a)(10)])