Dean of the Faculty

Copyright Law

All employees of the College are expected to respect the copyright associated with intellectual property which, except under specified circumstances, prohibits the duplication, public display, or performance of such property without permission of the owner of that copyright. Intellectual property includes visual images, software, and other creative expressions, whether fixed electronically or in "hard copy." The copyright law is a particularly important part of the legal framework governing an academic community.

The most important exception to the prohibition against unauthorized copying is "fair use." The meaning of "fair use" has been much litigated, most recently in connection with the production of "course packs" - anthologies of copyrighted materials specially duplicated and sold for particular courses. The courts have been clear, however, that such copying is not fair use, and permission must be obtained for items duplicated as part of such course packs. A useful handbook Questions And Answers On Copyright For The Campus Community amplifies the meaning of "fair use" for faculty members, and is available from the Office of Administrative Services.

Permission to copy items is relatively easy to obtain electronically for the large number of items for which the Copyright Clearance Center manages the copyrights, and both Departmental Assistants and OAS are available to help. Usually, the publisher must be written for permission to copy other items.

As the fees demanded by publishers for granting such permissions have risen dramatically, the College is reviewing its policy of paying those fees. In general, whether the College or student pays such fees, faculty members should be as sensitive to these costs in selecting these materials as they are in selecting books for which, of course, the copyright fee is embedded in the purchase price.

Unusual questions concerning copyrights should be addressed to the Office of the Dean of Faculty which will attempt to obtain a professional answer.