Students Should Know
is a protection afforded under federal law for various types of creative
works. A work is copyrightable if it is an original work of authorship
fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyrightable works include
literary, musical or dramatic works; motion pictures and other audiovisual
works; choreographic works and pantomimes; sound recordings; and architectural
of a copyright in a particular work has the exclusive right to copy, display,
perform, distribute, and create a derivative version of the work. Generally,
then, this means that you may not do things like duplicate, show or perform
a copyrighted work unless it is expressly allowed under the Copyright
Act or you have the prior permission of the copyright holder.
exists in a work at the time it becomes fixed in some tangible medium
of expression. Neither registration of the copyright with the federal
government nor a copyright notice on the work itself is required for copyright
copyright infringement occurs when you copy, display, perform, distribute
or create a derivative version of a copyrightable work either without
the permission of the copyright holder or when such activity is not otherwise
allowed under an exception provided by federal copyright law. The penalties
for infringement include significant damages-potentially in excess of
$100,000 for each work infringed as well as criminal penalties, which may include fines and even incarceration.
copyright law affect information I obtain off the Internet?
law covers works in both traditional and new media, including digital
media. Copyrightable materials are often available on the Internet without
any indication of their copyrighted status. As a rule of thumb, you should
assume that everything you find on the Internet is copyrighted, unless
otherwise labeled. Even popular activities, such as file swapping or copying
software or pictures from the Internet, may be copyright infringement
and should be avoided.
Millennium Copyright Act, which Congress enacted in 2000, affords greater
protection for copyright holders of digital works. Generally, then, even
if a work appears solely in a digital form, it is likely subject to copyright
has made many creative works widely available through the Internet. For
example, the technology known as Peer to Peer (P2P) allows for the transmission
of music, videos, movies, software, video games and other materials-most
of which is subject to copyright protection.
that a copyright exists in a work at the time it becomes fixed in some
tangible medium of expression. That means that an image you have downloaded
from the Internet, as well as a video or musical performance is almost
certainly subject to copyright protection. When you download these works,
transfer them to a disk or other medium, or send them to a friend, you
are infringing on the rights of the copyright holder. Trafficking in such
material without the permission of the copyright holder, then, violates
copyright law. This includes unauthorized music file sharing over the
to a statement recently issued by representatives of the motion picture,
recording and songwriting industries, uploading and downloading copyrighted
works over the Internet is theft: "It is no different from walking
into the campus bookstore and in a clandestine manner walking out with
a textbook without paying for it."
it important for a student to be aware of copyright law?
infringement is expressly prohibited by the US Copyright Act. Anyone who
infringes another's copyright in a creative work is subject to liability,
and could be required to pay large sums in damages.
as the law clearly prohibits copyright infringement, using any college
resources-such as photocopiers, desktop and laptop computers, printers,
central computing facilities, local-area or college-wide networks, Internet
access, or electronic mail-for the purpose of infringing a copyright in
any work may be grounds for student discipline. According to Maricopa
Community College District administrative regulation, "students are
expected to comply with the provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 pertaining
to photocopying of printed materials, copying of computer software and
under the Maricopa Community Colleges Computing Resource Standards, a
student is prohibited from the "use of software, graphics, photographs,
or any other tangible form of expression that would violate or infringe
any copyright or similar legally-recognized protection of intellectual
property rights." The Standards also prohibit "transmitting,
storing, or receiving data, or otherwise using computing resources in
a manner that would constitute a violation of state or federal law . .
who violates these policies, then, can be disciplined at any of the Maricopa
Community Colleges. This discipline could include suspension or even expulsion.
law allow me to download files from a college web site?
recent changes to copyright law, colleges and universities are allowed
to transmit copyrighted images, recordings, and other materials over the
Internet in connection with distance learning offerings. These changes
allow for the performance of non-dramatic literary works or musical works,
as well as the display of "reasonable and limited portions"
of any work in an amount comparable to that typically displayed in a live
classroom setting. Use of the works must, however, be "an integral
part" of the distance-learning class session, and available solely
to students enrolled in the class. In addition, the transmission of the
copyrighted works must be under the direction or actual supervision of
the college does not hold the copyright to these works, or even have the
express permission of the copyright holder, they may be delivered over
the Internet to students in distance learning classes.
that the law authorizes such use of copyrighted materials, though, does
not allow a student in these classes to freely download, copy, or re-transmit
the works. They are intended solely for use by the institution in connection
with distance instruction; any other use would likely constitute a violation
of copyright law.
more about copyright, click "Intellectual Property."
While you're there, you should read the Maricopa Community Colleges' Copyright
Guidelines. You should also review the complete text of the Computing
Resource Standards that can be found under the "Information
Technology" link. The Standards also appear in college catalogs
and student handbooks.