Copyright (Policy IT-4)

This policy addresses copyright in the context of resources used at Clarkson College. 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granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression and covers both published and unpublished works. The College promotes awareness of Federal Copyright Law via policy and is not responsible for the improper or illegal use of any copies of materials from its collections or from using its technology resources. It is the individual's responsibility to guard against the infringement of rights that may be held by others and for clearing reproduction rights and copyright restrictions when necessary. 


Clarkson College recognizes that federal law makes it illegal to duplicate copyrighted materials without authorization of the holder of the copyright, except for certain exempt purposes. Under the fair use doctrine, unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted materials is permissible for such purposes as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. These four factors outlined in the Federal Copyright Law must be analyzed:

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

As part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, the Department of Education released final regulations that must be addressed by all U.S. colleges and universities on October 29, 2009. The HEOA provisions regarding copyright violations from unauthorized file sharing on campus networks are categorized into three main requirements:

  • An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law.
  • A plan to "effectively combat” the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials by users of its network, including "the use of one or more technology‐based deterrents.”
  • A plan to "offer alternatives to illegal downloading.”

Clarkson College complies with the HEOA via the following:

Clarkson College is a registrant of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Designated Agent Directory which provides safe harbor for online service providers and provides contact information for infringement notification through the address listed on the public web site. Upon receipt of legitimate takedown notices, Clarkson College will respond expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of the infringing activity per the DMCA requirements.

Legal References: Federal Copyright Law of 1976 (U.S. Code, Title 17)