Copyright Policy

Copyright Policy for Saint Mary's College

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Why Should I Read These Guidelines?
  3. Copyright Law
  4. General Information About Fair Use
    1. Fair Use Exception: Guidelines for Using Copyrighted Materials in an Instructional Setting
    2. Library Exception
    3. Face-To-Face Teaching Exception
  5. Public Performance
  6. Personal Fair Use
  7. Copyright Ownership Policy
  8. Help is Available
  9. Enforcement

1. Introduction: Instructional Use of Copyrighted Materials

As an increasing number of questions have been raised about copyright issues on campus, it became clear the institution needed to develop a statement on copyright. While informal policies existed, Saint Mary’s has never formally developed and approved a policy through faculty and/or administrative action. This document is intended to serve as a set of guidelines for faculty, staff, administrators, and students of the college in their uses of copyrighted materials.

Saint Mary’s College recognizes and respects intellectual property rights. As part of our mission to maintain the highest standards for ethical conduct, we are committed to fulfilling our moral and legal obligations with respect to our use of copyright-protected works. Accordingly, it is the policy of Saint Mary’s College to comply with the United States Copyright Law of 1976, as amended (Title 17, United States Code). The Cushwa-Leighton Library and the Document Center have been charged with implementing this Copyright Policy.

The following information, guidelines and procedures has been compiled as a reference guide for the Saint Mary’s College community to help answer everyday questions about the use and reproduction of copyrighted materials in various formats. It has been developed to guide faculty, staff, administrators, and students by setting out their rights to copy and distribute material under fair use guidelines. This policy specifies the exceptions granted to educators, and clarifying the responsibilities of faculty, staff, administrators, and students for understanding the restrictions on copying and the need to obtain permissions.

In light of the many questions which are arising with the proliferation of information in electronic form, we urge all members of the community to familiarize themselves with this information. It is far too brief to encompass the law, and should not be used as a substitute for sound legal advice, but it provides a brief summary of the points most likely to concern faculty, staff, administrators, and students at Saint Mary’s.

2. Why Should I Read These Guidelines?

Individuals are liable for their own actions. The copyright law (Title 17, United States Code) sets strict limits on making copies of copyrighted works. Willfully exceeding these limits may subject the copier to liability for infringement with damages up to $150,000 per work.

Saint Mary’s College is not required to defend an individual who knowingly fails to comply with the College's Policy on Copying, fair use guidelines, and any licenses that affect the rights to use others' works. Information Technology, the Cushwa-Leighton Library, and the Document Center will not permit the duplication or use of any material submitted which is known or suspected not to meet the requirements of the guidelines. The College expects those using the materials to be familiar with the guidelines and abide by them.

3. Copyright Law

Copyright law protects certain exclusive rights of copyright holders for a set period of time, including the following rights: copying their works, making derivative works, distributing their works, and performing their works. These rights exist from the moment a work is created, whether or not a copyright notice appears on the work. 

Original Scope of Copyright. The Act applies to nearly all forms of captured content, including traditional works such as books, photographs, architectural drawings, music, drama and sculpture.

Expanded Scope of Copyright. The copyright laws have adapted to advancing technology by expanding the scope of protected works to include such things as video, motion pictures, electronic media, software, multimedia works and databases.

Test to Determine Copyright. A copyright will attach to an original work that is “fixed in any tangible medium of expression” (e.g., marks on paper, recordings of music, paintings on canvas, data on compact disks). Ideas and facts are not copyrighted.

No Mark or Registration Necessary. Since 1989, works are protected by copyright regardless of whether a copyright notice is attached and regardless of whether the copyright is registered.

Public Domain Works. Not all works carry copyrights; those in the public domain may be freely used. Any work published before 1923 is in the public domain. Works published from 1923 through 1978 are protected for 95 years from the publication date, if proper copyright formalities were followed. Since 1978, works generally have copyright protection for the life of the author plus 70 years.

If No Exception, Seek Permission.  In academia, the three major exceptions to the copyright owner's right to control the reproduction and use of works of authorship are: 1) the fair use exception, 2) the library exception, and 3) the face-to-face teaching exception. These three exceptions are described below. Unless an exception applies, you must obtain permission to reproduce copyrighted work in any medium for any purpose.

4. General Information About Fair Use

Congress enacted the federal Copyright Act to protect “original works of authorship” that are “fixed in any tangible medium of expression.” Within copyright law, however, Congress carved out certain exceptions.

The law recognizes that scholarly work requires teachers, students, and researchers to reproduce and share pieces of original, copyrighted work for study and criticism. So, the law also allows faculty and students to make limited use of copyrighted material for educational purposes. This concept is known as “fair use.”

Unless material is explicitly identified as being in the public domain, it is always best to assume that the provisions of copyright law protect materials being used for instructional purposes. In using copyrighted materials for instructional purposes, even under "fair use" guidelines, it is always wise to acknowledge the copyright owner in a very clear way. Academic honesty and its negative, plagiarism, are not issues of fair use. Academic honesty requires citing others’ ideas.

1. Fair Use Exception

Copyright law does allow limited copying, distribution, and display of copyrighted works without the author's permission, under certain conditions.

The Fair Use Statute
The following is the full text of the fair use statute of the U. S. Copyright Act, Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. Limitations on exclusive rights:

Fair Use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

But note that the concept of "fair use" provides limited exceptions, and does not encompass wholesale copying and distribution of copyrighted work for educational or any other purpose, without permission.

Copyright law does not specify the exact limitations of fair use (i.e. the extent of copying permitted). Instead, the law provides four interrelated standards or tests, which must be applied in each case to evaluate, whether the copying or distributing falls within the limited exception of fair use.

Here are the four standards:

The purpose and character of the use.
Duplicating and distributing selected portions of copyrighted materials for specific educational purposes falls within fair use.

The nature of the copyrighted work.
The characteristics of the work help determine the application of fair use. For example, works built on facts and published materials may have a better claim to fair use than imaginative and unpublished works. Commercial audiovisual works and consumable "workbook" materials are subject to less fair use than many printed materials.

The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
Copying extracts that are short relative to the whole work and distributing copyrighted segments that do not capture the "essence" of the work are more likely to be considered within fair use.

The effect of use on the potential market for or value of the work.
If copying or distributing the work does not reduce sales of the work, then the use may be considered fair. Of the four standards, this is arguably the most important test for fair use.

Further material on Fair Use is available from the Cushwa-Leighton Library, which maintains reference sources on copyright and its current legal status. Familiarize yourself with these materials. Even if a copyright infringement occurs, a court may refuse to award damages if the infringer reasonably believed that the use was fair.

Guidelines for Using Copyrighted Material in an Instructional Setting

a. Copying
Following the "fair use" guidelines outlined above, segments of copyrighted print, electronic, and multimedia materials may by   captured, copied, digitized, transformed to another medium, or manipulated for educational purposes only, by members of the college community.

b. Acknowledgement
The holder of the copyright to each segment must be clearly and prominently acknowledged on or next to the print or digitized material, even when "fair use" guidelines are observed. Electronic material, such as course materials placed on Blackboard, must include notice of copyright (see Course Reserve Guidelines, Section 2.c.v. below) and an accurate citation of the source.

c. Incorporating materials into new works
Segments of material may be incorporated into studies and projects for instructional and scholarly purposes. Permission must be sought to use materials in works, other than small excerpts that are used as quotations, that are circulated beyond the original educational setting (e.g., a class, faculty seminar, some recognized group organized for educational purposes) or that may have commercial application.

d. Personal and course web pages
Faculty, staff, administrators, and students who create Web pages and social networking websites should respect the rights of copyright holders. This includes copyrighted material in all genres and formats, including print, electronic, audio, visual, etc. Fair use exceptions to copyright law apply when personal or course Web pages are used exclusively for educational purposes. This may be done by acknowledging sources, restricting access through course management software or some other password protected mechanism, obtaining permission or license for use, or some combination of all of these. Whenever possible, linking to online resources, rather than copying, is encouraged.

e. Course packets
The “Copyright Clearance User Guide for Course Packs” is considered an important part of Saint Mary’s College’s overall copyright policy. Community members should follow the procedures enumerated in the Guide when creating course packets.

f. Use of electronic and multimedia materials
All Saint Mary’s community members are expected to abide by the standards set forth in the Information Technology Policy on the Responsible Use of College Computers and the Internet at Saint Mary's College.

Multimedia materials are combinations of data, texts, still images, animations, moving images, and sounds. Multimedia materials may be found on videotapes, audiotapes, and laserdiscs. Digitized multimedia materials may reside on floppy disks, CD-ROMs, digital tapes, and the hard disks of networked computer servers, including World Wide Web servers.

In the course of study one must assume that copyright law protects all electronic and multimedia materials encountered, unless there is a specific reason to believe that they are in the public domain, the copyright holders expressly permit the item’s use, or they are public domain government publications.

Members of the Saint Mary’s community may read, examine, watch, and listen to electronic and/or multimedia materials in the library, classrooms, Huisking Instructional Technology Resource Center (ITRC), on public computers and video monitors, and on personal equipment (television sets, computers) attached or authenticated to use the campus network. In general, faculty, staff, administrators, and students may copy assigned multimedia materials for private study and/or research. However they may not actively distribute it or passively make it available for use by others without written permission of the copyright holder, outside of the fair use exception.

Faculty, staff, administrators, and students may copy small segments of electronic or multimedia material, and transfer the segments to another medium (e.g. from videotape to digitized form), if they use the materials as part of a scholarly research project, paper, or presentation, or in a project or paper that has been assigned to meet the requirements of a Saint Mary’s College course. There is no legal definition of "small," but the segments copied should represent only a fraction of the original work. (The usual rule-of-thumb for print material, for example, is one chapter or 10% of the work.) The work must be given due credit through a citation to the source.

Faculty, staff, administrators, and students may manipulate these small segments (that is, change their look or sound) only for purposes of study or criticism.

Permission must be obtained from the copyright holder(s) to make extensive use of copyrighted material beyond the fair use guidelines, or to share the material beyond the class, or to create a new work.

2. Library Exception

The Copyright Act establishes certain exceptions for libraries and archives to reproduce copyrighted works.

a. Library Reserves

The purpose of the Course Reserve services of the Cushwa-Leighton Library and the Music Seminar Room is to collect and maintain course-related materials for intensive student use. Both library-owned materials and those supplied by faculty members are processed for reserve by library staff. Please refer to the Library Reserve Guidelines below, as well as to the library’s web site for detailed Course Reserve policies and procedures.

b. Electronic Reserves

Network access, including World Wide Web access, to Saint Mary’s College-created digitized study collections (e.g. electronic reserve) that include copyrighted material, is restricted to the Saint Mary’s College campus network and those authorized to use the network. Such digitized collections are accessible temporarily and for instructional purposes only by the group of Saint Mary’s students and faculty for whom the material is intended. The use of a course management system (e.g., Blackboard) provides password-protected, controlled access to digitized class materials. These collections are removed at the end of the academic term in which they were being used. Prominent notice must be given that such study materials may not be downloaded, retained, printed, shared, or modified, except as needed temporarily for specific academic assignments.

c. Course Reserve Guidelines

i. The guidelines used to determine what is included in the Library's Course Reserve system will include a fair use analysis, applying the four standards on a case-by-case basis. Print and electronic course reserves will be limited to originals of an entire work, a single article or chapter (or up to 10%) from one source (including one journal issue), or other small portions of a work.

          The four standards are reviewed in detail earlier in this policy and include:
               • The purpose and character of the use.
               • The nature of the copyrighted work
               • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
               • The effect of use on the potential market for or value of the work.

 If a set of materials is being used in lieu of a textbook, please consult the User Guide for Course Packs.

ii. When the material requested for reserve exceeds what might be permitted under fair use, it is the faculty member’s responsibility to seek permission from the holder of the copyright or the Copyright Clearance Center to ensure compliance with the Copyright Law and retention of documentation.

This includes repetitive copying and the use of copyrighted materials in successive years. Thus, permission must be obtained if a faculty member intends to use the material for more than one semester.

In general, out-of-print items not in the public domain remain under copyright. If the need for such material exceeds fair use, permission should be sought from the copyright holder.

The length of the process for obtaining copyright permission varies, and can take from a few days to many weeks, or longer.   Generally, the material in question may be used for a limited period, not to exceed one semester, while awaiting copyright permission.

iii. Under fair use, students may make one copy for private study or research.

iv. Rented videotapes can be placed on reserve and/or shown to groups of students during face-to-face instruction.

v. All copied material must carry the following statement: NOTICE: This material may be protected by copyright law. (Title 17 U.S. Code).

iv. Additional information may be found on the library’s web site at:

d. Other Library Copying

Libraries are authorized to exercise special rights in addition to fair use. These rights are described in Section 108 of the copyright law and include archiving lost, stolen, damaged or deteriorating works; making copies for library patrons; and making copies for other libraries' patrons (Interlibrary loan).

3. Face-to-Face Teaching Exception

In addition to the fair use exception and library exception, the Copyright Act does provide an exception to perform or display copyrighted materials during face-to-face teaching activities (e.g. showing a website or film in class).

5. Public Performance

Public performance or display of copyrighted materials on campus by any member of the Saint Mary’s community, outside of classroom use (e.g. club film series), requires a license for public performance rights or the written permission of the copyright holder. Please consult the Guidelines for Public Performance for more detailed information. 

6. Personal Fair Use

The fair use doctrine allows an individual to make one copy of a lawfully obtained copyrighted work for his or her own personal use (e.g. videotaping a television program or purchasing music from iTunes).

7. Copyright Ownership Policy

All rights in copyright, regardless of their form of expression, remain with the creator, except in specified cases where law or College policy dictates otherwise.\

8. Help is Available

The Cushwa-Leighton Library and the Document Center are charged with implementing this policy and assisting faculty, staff, administrators, and students in evaluating instructional materials, to identify those that fall within the "fair use" clauses of the copyright law. The "fair use" exceptions incorporated into the copyright law describe permitted educational uses of certain categories of copyrighted materials.

In some areas, particularly relating to electronic and multimedia materials, copyright law and fair use guidelines are unclear. As expected, challenges to the copyright law are continuously being debated. The Cushwa-Leighton Library and Information Technology staff will make every effort to provide common-sense interpretations of the current law and guidelines.

9. Enforcement

The responsibility for the enforcement of the “Copyright Policy for Saint Mary’s College” lies jointly with the Office of the Vice President/Dean of Faculty in academic areas, the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs for student services, and the Vice President for Finance & Administration in non-academic, non-student matters.

Revised Fall 2014