I. Scope

This copyright policy applies to all members of the Earlham community, including faculty, staff, students and alumni, and any other person who has access to information technology resources at Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion.

II. Policy Statement

Consistent with Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17 of U.S. Code) and Earlham’s Principles and Practices, members of the Earlham community are expected to comply with federal copyright law and to respect the intellectual property rights of others.

It is a violation of Earlham policy and federal law to participate in copyright infringement.  Copyright materials include, but are not limited to, computer software, audio and video recordings, photographs, illustrations, artwork, and written materials. Neither Earlham information technologies nor information resources should be used where a copyright infringement will occur.

Individuals found responsible for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject to civil and criminal liabilities.

This copyright policy is not a substitute for legal counsel, but offers generally accepted guidelines derived from the broader academic library profession for the appropriate use of copyrighted materials at Earlham.

III. Definitions

  1. Copyright: Copyright is the exclusive legal right given to creators or assignees over the reproduction, performance, distribution, translation, and public display of their intellectual property, based on specific language is the U.S. Constitution and codified in Title 17 of the U.S. Code. This legal right exists from the moment a work is created, whether or not a copyright notice appears.
  2. Fair use: Copyright law allows limited copying, distribution, and display of copyrighted works without the author’s permission under certain conditions known as “fair use.”
    1. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” (17 U.S. Code § 107)
  3. Intellectual property: According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), intellectual property, “refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.” http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en
  4. Public Domain: The public domain includes every creative work that is no longer protected by a copyright, trademark, or patent. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/public_domain
    1. According to the United States Code: “In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.” (17 U.S. Code § 102)
    2. Generally speaking, publications of the U.S. Government are not protected by copyright. (17 U.S. Code § 105)

IV. Responsibilities

Compliance with the federal copyright law and with this policy is the responsibility of every member of the Earlham community, including faculty, staff and students.  All community members are responsible for discouraging copyright infringement and promoting the ethical and legal utilization of intellectual property, including application of fair use guidelines and seeking copyright permission when needed.

Questions or concerns about this policy should be directed to Earlham’s Library Director, 765-983-1302.

V. Violations

Employees or students found to have violated Earlham’s copyright policy may be subject to disciplinary action. See the Code of Student Conduct, published in the Student Handbook, and employee policies and procedures for details on review process and sanctions.

VI. Policy Review and Approval

This policy is reviewed periodically by the Earlham College Library Director. Amendments are approved by the President.


Policy specifications

Last revision: 01/08/2024
Responsible office: Academic Affairs
Approved by: President
Effective date: 01/08/2024
Related policies: Student Handbook
Associated division(s):
Associated audience(s):
Associated container(s):
Policy home: https://earlham.edu/policy/copyright-policy