Commitment to Copyright Compliance

Members of the Benedictine University community are expected to comply with copyright law applying to materials regardless of whether they are reproduced in digital, electronic, print or other form. In its Acceptable Use Policy, Benedictine University explicitly prohibits all users from violating copyright or engaging in software piracy. Violations of this policy can lead to termination of a user's informational technology privileges. For more information regarding copyright law, you are encouraged to visit the following Web sites:

All complaints and questions regarding copyright issues relating to Benedictine University’s Web resources, including allegations of copyright infringement occurring on its site, should be addressed to our designated agent

Disclaimer for Unofficial and Linked Pages

Benedictine University encourages all members of its community to make use of its information technology resources, but neither edits nor endorses all items accessible from its Web site. Personal and non-departmental Web pages are not official statements of Benedictine University, which should not be held responsible for their content. Although accuracy is a main concern, disparities may occasionally appear between printed and electronic documents. In cases such as this, you should contact the appropriate department for clarification.

Opinions contained in personal and non-departmental pages are those of their authors. Questions or comments about a particular page of this kind should be directed to the page's author, who is responsible for the design and content of that page.

Some of our Web pages provide links to other sites or sources of information not found at Benedictine University. The presence of these links should not be construed as approval or endorsement of the linked pages, over which the University exercises no control.

Infringement Information

Benedictine University will move expeditiously to remove any material that is determined to infringe on the rights of others. If you believe that a portion of our site infringes another's copyright, please contact our designated agent. Before doing so, however, confirm that the usage is in violation of copyright law or whether it is covered by such exceptions as fair use provisions. The U.S. Copyright Office provides online information to assist you in making this judgment.

As required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, your notification must include:

  1. Identification of the copyrighted work that is being infringed, or, in the case of multiple works at the same location, a representative list of such works at that site.
  2. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity. You must include sufficient information for us to locate the material.
  3. Adequate information for us to be able to contact the claimant.
  4. A statement indicating that the claimant believes the use of the material has not been authorized by the copyright owner or his/her/their authorized agent.
  5. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate and that the claimant is, or is authorized to act on behalf of, the copyright owner.
  6. An electronic signature (if this is not available, a faxed copy or handwritten signature will substitute).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is copyright?
  • (Source Information)
    The copyright law grants owners of copyright (authors and other creators and publishers) the sole right to do or allow others to do each of the following acts with regard to their copyrighted work: to reproduce all or part of the work, to distribute copies, to prepare new (derivative) versions based on the original work, to perform and display the work publicly.

    Copyright protection covers both published and unpublished works. The fact that a previously published work is out of print does not affect its copyright.

  • (Source Information)

    Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works

  • (Source Information)
    Copyright is the right granted by law to an author or other creator to control use of the work created. The copyright law grants owners of copyright (authors and other creators and publishers) the sole right to do or allow others to do each of the following acts with regard to their copyrighted works: to reproduce all or part of the work; to distribute copies; to prepare new (derivative) versions based on the original work; and to perform and display the work publicly.

    Copyright protection covers both published and unpublished works. The fact that a previously published work is out of print does not affect its copyright.

    Copyright protection exists to foster and induce the creation of all forms of works of authorship. These include books, newspapers, magazines, computer software, multimedia works, sound recordings, audio-visual works, and other works. The copyright law does so by providing fair returns to creators and copyright owners. To the extent copies are made without permission, authors and publishers - including faculty- are deprived of revenues in the very market for which they have written and published. Such unauthorized and uncompensated copying could severely reduce their incentive to create new materials in all formats.

  • (Source Information)
    The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors. To determine the length of copyright protection for a particular work, consult Chapter 3 of the Copyright Act (title 17 of the United States Code).

What does copyright protect?
  • (Source Information)
    Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.
  • (Source Information)
    Copyright exists in "original works of authorship" which are "fixed in a tangible medium of expression." Among the types of works which are subject to copyright protection are literary, dramatic, musical, choreographic and pictorial works, graphic works, pantomimes, sound recordings, sculptures, motion pictures and audio-visual works. These categories include factual works (including dictionaries and directories), videocassettes and computer programs and databases.
What is "fair use"?
  • (Source Information)
    Fair use is a legal doctrine developed through case law over many years and now embedded in copyright law. It permits courts to interpret the rigid terms of traditional copyright principles, so the creativity that copyright law is designed to foster won't be stifled. According to Title 17 of the U.S. Code, fair use originated "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research." The doctrine of fair use recognizes that the exclusive rights inherent in a copyright are not absolute and that others are entitled to make use of a copyrighted work that technically would otherwise infringe on one or more of the exclusive rights.
  • (Source Information)
    There are generally four factors that courts use to determine whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is fair use. These factors are for guidance and are not necessarily exhaustive.
    • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is commercial in nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; educational purpose is more likely to be considered fair use.
    • The nature of the copyrighted work; that is, the extent to which the work is factual or creative. The more factual and less creative a work is (for example, a news report compared to a song), the more likely a use of the work is to fall under purview of the fair use doctrine-all else being equal.
    • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. Usually, only short passages of a literary work that do not convey or express the "heart" of the work are permitted under fair use. For the specific case of single visual images, this criterion is often difficult to meet, in that small subsets of an image are not always useful; visual images are usually used in their entirety.
    • The effect of the use on the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work. For a claim of fair use to hold, the owner or creator of the work should not suffer significant monetary damages from that particular use.
Is all copying by educational institutions fair use?

(Source Information)
No. Although Section 107 of the Copyright Act includes teaching, scholarship and research, along with making "multiple copies for classroom use," as among the uses of copyrighted works that may qualify as fair use, none of these uses automatically qualities as a fair use. Both Congress and the Supreme Court have rejected the notion that all "educational uses" or all uses by educational institutions are fair uses. Whether copying for these or any other uses constitutes "fair use" must be determined, within the facts and circumstances of each particular use, by application of the four statutory criteria enumerated in Section 107. Section 110 of the Copyright Act contains limited exemptions for certain uses of copyrighted materials in "face-to-fact" classroom situations or in "instructional broadcasting" programs conducted by nonprofit educational institutions, but there is no blanket exemption from copyright liability for educational uses or uses by educational institutions.

What if I request permission and I don’t get a response?

(Source Information)
If you don't receive a response to your request for permission, you cannot assume that you have been granted the necessary permission, because publishers are not required to respond. You may even have contacted someone who has illegally posted copyrighted material.

Having obtained permission to use something, can I use it for anything I want?
(Source Information)
Not necessarily. Unless a standing permission to use a particular work for any purpose is negotiated, permissions to use copyrighted works are usually granted on a one-time basis for a specific use. Permission for one specific use is restricted to that one use; further permission must be obtained to make broader or additional uses of a work.
I found a work I want to use. How do I determine if it is copyrighted?

(Source Information)
Every audio, visual, or textual work has copyright protection unless that protection has expired over time or its creator places it in the public domain. A work does not need to have a copyright notice or the copyright symbol to be copyright protected. It only needs to be fixed in a tangible medium of expression and contain a modicum of originality. A fixed medium includes, but is not limited to, film, audio and videotape, canvas, paper, and electronic storage. This means that even a person's snapshots, tape recordings, electronic mail, and home videos are protected by copyright.

What is intellectual property?

(Source Information)
Intellectual property is a legal concept under which we manage the protection and use of products of the human mind (as opposed to the human hand). The U.S. Constitution and the "Federalist Papers" refer specifically to patents (which apply to "useful articles," traditionally inventions) and copyright (which applies to 'literary expressions,' traditionally books and articles) as comprising the scope of intellectual property. There have also been some more recent additions: Outside of patents and copyrights, there are such things as trademarks and service marks (like "Coca Cola"), "trade dress" (a more amorphous concept involving the "look" of a product, like Coca Cola's red & white can with a script logo), "trade secrets" and others. In an academic setting, intellectual property can refer to ownership of such course materials as test and lecture notes. Most institutions recognize the individual who generated those materials as holding intellectual property rights, unless they were created under specific contractual conditions.

If permission was granted for materials previously, do I need to apply for permission again?

(Source Information)
Yes. Permission is granted in most cases for one-time use only. If you plan to use the same material for more than one quarter, you can include multiple quarters in the request to the publisher. Some publishers will grant permission for a longer period if the dates of use are defined in the request.

What relevance does the Digital Millennium Copyright Act have for the campus community?

(Source Information)
The DMCA was enacted in October 1998 primarily to bring U.S. copyright law into conformity with provisions of two World Intellectual Property Organization treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory. This Act facilitates the creation of a secure digital environment for use of copyrighted materials by encouraging the deployment of, and respect for, encryption and other technological protection systems. Accordingly, the DMCA prohibits (with certain limited exceptions): (1) manufacturing, importing, distributing, and providing products or services whose main purpose is to circumvent these systems; (2) taking action to engage in circumvention so as to gain unauthorized access to copyrighted works; and (3) removing, falsifying, or tampering with "copyright management information" (that is conveyed electronically with copyrighted works to identify them and their owners and provide other pertinent data about them.) Beyond satisfying treaty obligations, the Act also seeks to clarify the rules for operating digital networks by (1) defining the circumstances that limit the liability of those entities that provide network services and (2) establishing procedures to facilitate the identification and correction of infringing activities engaged by users through such networks.

Nothing in the DMCA would prevent an alleged infringer of a digital work from claiming that his or her use of the work was fair use under Section 107 of the Copyright Act. The same four factors would be considered in determining whether the use of the material was fair.

The DMCA provides certain categories of immunity, or "safe harbors," for online service providers ("a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefore"). Because most colleges, universities, and college bookstores fall within the definition of a "service providers," it is believed that they may take advantage of the DMCA "safe harbor" limitations regardless of whether such institutions are nonprofit. In order to take advantage of these "safe harbors," a service provider must register with the U.S. Copyright Office at as a copyright agent, adopt and implement copyright policies, educate the campus community about the copyright law, and implement a "notice and takedown" procedure for addressing receipt of infringement notices.

The DMCA is not the most recent piece of legislation affecting copyright in an academic environment. The TEACH Act (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act) was passed in 2002 to clarify and update previous copyright legislation in light of new teaching technologies. For more information on this Act, visit Source Information.