Drew University faculty, staff, and students cannot knowingly violate federal copyright law (Title 17 of the United States Code) when using, scanning or copying copyrighted material.  Accordingly, all faculty, staff and students of Drew University should follow these policy guidelines and are encouraged to learn more about copyright and fair use as it applies to their work and intellectual property.


Copyright exists automatically. Copyright protection attaches to any original work of authorship when it is fixed in any tangible medium of expression.  For works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection generally lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years.  While materials in the public domain may be copied freely and without restriction, federal law requires Drew to restrict the use of materials that are protected by copyright.

Copyright law generally gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the work, prepare derivative works, distribute copies of the work, perform the work publicly, and to display the work publicly, and to grant permission for those uses. In addition, certain authors of works of visual art have the rights of attribution and integrity.

To be protected, works published prior to March 1, 1989 generally need to have a copyright notice posted in the work. In contrast, most works published on or after March 1, 1989 should be presumed to be copyright protected because a copyright notice is not required to be posted on those works. Works authored by the United States Government are not copyrighted protected, nor are works which the copyright holder intends to be in the public domain. The Copyright Office Circular 22 explains how to determine the copyright status of a work.  Additional resources may be found at the end of the Copyright Policy.

VIOLATION OF COPYRIGHT LAW: Violating the rights of a copyright owner constitutes a violation of law can result in civil and criminal penalties.  Copyrighted materials, however, may be copied or otherwise used without the copyright owner's permission in carefully defined and limited circumstances. The Copyright Act’s "fair use" exception permits copyrighted works to be used or reproduced “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.” Four factors must be applied when determining whether “fair use” of copyrighted material is permitted. Those factors are:

  • 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.

Not every use of copyrighted materials for educational or research use is covered by fair use. The four factor test must be applied. (See “Fair Use” Checklist attached to Copyright Policy). 

PERMISSION: In order to copy, post online, or otherwise use copyrighted materials, including software, where use exceeds what is permitted by license or the four factor fair use test indicates that the use is likely not fair, permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. 

LEGAL ACTIONS: In the event copyright infringement is alleged, the University and/or its members will be able to best defend against any such claim:

  • where the use is in accordance with the provisions of a valid software license  agreement,
  • where the use is within the Conference on Fair Use Guidelines
  • where the use in an online setting complies with the requirements of the TEACH Act
  • where the permission of the copyright owner has been obtained, or
  • where University Counsel has determined that the use is otherwise permissible.

Failure to comply with these requirements can result in litigation against the University and its members, as well as the assessment of costs and damages.

REQUIRED NOTICES: Drew University facilities are responsible for posting notices reflecting this policy at all public computer and photocopying stations which may be used for reproducing copyrighted materials, e.g., departmental copy rooms and libraries. The following notice will be posted:

"Copyright Notice"

"Copying, displaying and distributing copyrighted works, may infringe the owner's copyright. The Conference on Fair Use Guidelines can help you determine whether your use of a copyrighted work is a fair use or requires permission. Any use of computer or duplicating facilities by students, faculty or staff for infringing use of copyrighted works is subject to appropriate disciplinary action as well as those civil remedies and criminal penalties provided by federal law."

DISTANCE EDUCATION: The TEACH Act permits nonprofit educational institutions to transmit or display non-dramatic literary or musical works as they would in a face-to-face class. As a general rule, the transmission must be directly related and integral to the teaching content of the course, made solely for students enrolled in the course, limited to students enrolled in the course, and made at the direction of or under the actual supervision of instructor.  The performance or display of other works is permitted in an amount or quantity comparable to what would be used in a face-to-face classroom setting.

DMCA TAKEDOWN REQUIREMENTS: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act includes provisions intended to protect internet service providers from liability for willful copyright infringement by their users if the provider adopts technology to prevent the circumvention of copyright protections. Drew meets these requirements and, among other things, will comply with appropriate “takedown” notices issued by copyright owners.

Additional Information and resources may be found in the Copyright Policy.

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