Please take a moment to review this brief document. This is the Hamilton College Audiovisual Services Team's interpretation of Federal Copyright Law, based on careful review of the law itself and the Fair Use guidelines. It is by no means the only interpretation. It is what we believe to be the most ethical and appropriate for this campus.
It is our hope that this will help you understand and adhere to the provisions of federal copyright law.
Compliance with the federal copyright law and with this policy is the responsibility of every member of the faculty, staff, administration, and student body. We will all share in the liability if a violation occurs. Each of us should, therefore, take a personal interest in becoming informed about how copyright law affects our work and study at Hamilton College.
Copyright law is complicated and its interpretation is sometimes controversial. This guide has been prepared in an effort to help us all better understand what is allowable by law, and why some audiovisual services that are technically possible may be restricted. We will always remain open to receiving any new information on or interpretation of copyright law.
Your support and cooperation is greatly appreciated. If you have questions or concerns about this policy, please contact Tim Hicks, x4790.
Copyright grants to the author or originator the sole and exclusive privilege of multiplying copies of literary or artistic productions and publishing and selling them. Copyright protection exists for original works fixed in any tangible medium of expression, including:
Many provisions of the law affect educational uses of copyrighted materials but the most generally applicable is Section 107 - Limitations on Exclusive Rights: Fair Use. Under the law, it is fair use to reproduce copyrighted materials for purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. Four criteria will be applied in judging whether or not there has been an infringement:
The four criteria for determining fair use listed above are very general. To aid in the interpretation of Fair Use criteria, interested groups of publishers and users have agreed on more specific guidelines, including:
These guidelines were not written into the law, but they are accepted and used in interpreting the provisions of copyright law. An area left without specific guidelines at this time is audiovisual media. Representatives of copyright owners and users of audiovisual media have agreed that the general principles of fair use can apply to audiovisual media.
Substantial penalties are provided for infringement of a copyright:
An exception to the statutory damages is made in the case of teachers, provided the teacher believed and had reasonable grounds to believe that it was fair use. In this case the teacher may be found guilty but the damages do not have to be paid. This gives the teachers some special consideration under the law, but it also requires that they be thoroughly familiar with what might be considered reasonable fair use practices.
This copyright policy (1996-2010) was prepared with information gathered from the following sources:
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