Copyright Policy

It is the intent of Randolph College that all members of the College community adhere to the provisions of the United States Copyright Law (Title 17, United States Code, Sect. 101, et seq.). The following policy statements and guidelines constitute a manual for anyone at the College who wishes to reproduce, alter, or perform works that are protected by copyright. Full text of the law and its legislative history, plus subsequent analysis and commentary, are available in the Lipscomb Library. Reference staff there can advise on issues that are not specifically addressed in this manual.

Members of the College community who willfully disregard the copyright policy do so at their own risk and assume all liability. Alleged copyright violations will be reported to a registered agent of the college for investigation (in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Upon notification of an alleged violation, the material, if on a web site or computer accessible server drive, will be immediately taken down or open access secured. Notice of the takedown will be provided to the owner of the web site or drive location by the college copyright designate. If after investigation the infringement allegation is found to be invalid, access to the web sight or drive location will be restored. If the infringement allegation is found to be valid, the procedure will be as follows.

  • A violation by a student of the copyright law as explained in the IT Policy will be handled by the Student Judiciary Committee in accordance with the procedures published in the Honor System section of the Student Handbook. 
  • A violation by a faculty member of the copyright law as explained in the IT Policy will be handled by the Dean of the College.
  • A violation by a staff member of the copyright law as explained in the IT Policy will be handled by the Director of Human Resources . 

Repeat violations of the copyright policy will result in loss of access privileges and computer account termination.  Violators may also be referred to the appropriate authorities. 

Copyright is a form of legal protection for authors of original works, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual products. Publication is not essential for copyright protection, nor is the well-known symbol for copyright ©. Section 106 of the Copyright Act (90 Stat 2541) generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  • Reproduce copies of the work.
  • Prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work.
  • Distribute copies of the work by sale, rental, lease, or lending.
  • Publicly perform the work (if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic work or a pantomime, motion picture or audiovisual work).
  • Publicly display the work (if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, sculptural, graphic, or pictorial work, including the individual images of a film for a pantomime).

The copyright owner retains these rights even when the work itself belongs to someone else. However, the rights are not absolute. They are subject to both “Fair Use” limitations, which apply to all media, and medium-specific limitations.

Fair Use

The doctrine of fair use, embedded in section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, addresses the needs of scholars and students by mitigating the rights of copyright ownership. However, what constitutes fair use is expressed in the form of guidelines rather than explicit rules. To determine fair use, consider the following four factors [from What Educators Should Know About Copyright, by Virginia M. Helm; Bloomington, IN, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1986]:

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether the copied material will be for nonprofit, educational, or commercial use. This factor at first seems reassuring; but unfortunately for educators, several courts have held that absence of financial gain is insufficient for a finding of fair use.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work, with special consideration given to the distinction between a creative work and an informational work. For example, photocopies made of a newspaper or newsmagazine column are more likely to be considered a fair use than copies made of a musical score or a short story. Duplication of material originally developed for classroom consumption is less likely to be a fair use than is the duplication of materials prepared for public consumption. For example, a teacher who photocopies a workbook page or a textbook chapter is depriving the copyright owner of profits more directly than if copying one page from the daily paper.
  • The amount, substantiality, or portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. This factor requires consideration of 1) the proportion of the larger work that is copied and used, and 2) the significance of the copied portion.
  • The effect of the use on the potential market of the copyrighted work. This factor is regarded as the most critical one in determining fair use; and it serves as the basic principle from which the other three factors are derived and to which they are related. If the reproduction of a copyrighted work reduces the potential market and sales and, therefore, the potential profits of the copyright owner, that use is unlikely to be found a fair use.

See the Faculty Handbook Statement on Copyright Responsibility for additional copyright information.