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Policy for the Use of Copyrighted Work

Updated August 9, 2018

McDaniel College operates under the premise that all members of the College community will adhere diligently to the provisions of United States Copyright Law. Each member of the College community must take individual responsibility for copyright compliance. Members of the College community who willfully disregard the copyright policy do so at their own risk and assume all liability. This policy applies to all members of the College community. The scope of this policy is limited to the use of copyrighted works, and does not extend to copyright ownership or other issues of intellectual property.

U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code Section 101 and following) mandates that all members of the McDaniel College community (including faculty, staff, students and volunteers) respect the terms of the federal legislation and refrain from infringement of the proprietary rights of owners of copyrights.

It is the responsibility of each member of the McDaniel College community to become familiar with the elements of U.S. Copyright Law, and will make every reasonable effort to distinguish between permitted and prohibited uses of copyrighted materials, as well as to reliable guidance pertaining to fair use of copyrighted materials in an educational setting.

Toward that end, McDaniel College incorporates here the guidance offered by the U.S. Copyright Office regarding fair use:

One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright law (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.

The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Copyright protects the particular way authors have expressed themselves. It does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in a work. The safest course is to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

When it is impracticable to obtain permission, you should consider avoiding the use of copyrighted material unless you are confident that the doctrine of fair use would apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine whether a particular use may be considered fair nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.

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McDaniel College respects the copyright protections given by federal law to owners of digital materials and software. Consistent with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) it is against College policy for employees (faculty and staff) or students to use College-owned equipment or services to access, use, copy or otherwise reproduce, or make available to others any copyright-protected digital materials or software except as permitted under copyright law (especially with respect to "fair use") or specific license.

The software provided by the College for use by faculty, staff, and students may be used only as specified in the various software licenses.

The College regards violation of this policy as a serious matter, and any such violation is subject to disciplinary action. Repeated violations will result in loss of computing privileges, among other possible sanctions up to and including dismissal of repeat offenders (whether students or employees).

Pursuant to 37 CFR 201.38, the College has designated the following department to receive notification from copyright owners of claimed infringement of copyright:

David Brennan, Library Director
McDaniel College
2 College Hill
Westminster, MD 21157

Students, faculty members, other employees or community members who willfully disregard copyright law place themselves individually at risk of legal action. Infringement of copyright law may result in costly litigation and in substantial court-imposed fines (for detailed description of remedies for infringement see Title 17, U.S. Code section 504, chapter 5;

Questions about this policy should be referred to the College’s provost.

Resources offering reliable guidance regarding copyright include: