Willamette University Copyright Policy

It is the policy of Willamette University and its Copy Center, Integrated Technology Services and Libraries to uphold the provisions of the Copyright Law (Title 17, United States Code, January, 1978). The intent of the law is to balance the rights of the copyright owner with society's free flow of ideas. The copyright owner has exclusive rights to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies and to perform or display the work publicly. Consequently, it is an infringement of copyright for any person other than the copyright owner to exercise any of the rights listed above unless properly authorized by the owner, or unless the use of the material constitutes "fair use" as provided in the law. Thus, whenever copyrighted materials are to be reproduced for educational or administrative use (whether in the form of copy from broadcast transmission, classroom projection of copied material, reference material copied for use by students, duplication of computer programs, etc.) it must be determined that the permission of the copyright owner is obtained or that the planned use of the material fits the fair use concept. Fair use, in the end, is determined by the courts.

Since it is not feasible to designate one individual who determines when explicit permission of copyright owners should be sought for particular instructional uses of copyrighted material, every administrator, faculty and staff member who may be involved in the reproduction of copyrighted materials for classroom use, preparation of lectures and/or labs, or other campus organizational use has an important responsibility to assure that the rights of copyright owners are recognized and honored. If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. Employees who willfully disregard the copyright law are in violation of University Policy and do so at their own risk and assume all liability.

Persons requesting University services involving copyrighted material will be asked to certify, in writing, either that the copyright owner's permission has been obtained or that, for specific reasons, the proposed use is judged to be covered by the fair use provision.

Fair use is not susceptible to exact definition. Generally speaking, however, it allows copying without permission from, or payment to, the copyright owner where the use is reasonable and not harmful to the rights of the copyright owner.

Four factors must be considered in determining whether or not a particular use of copyrighted material is fair:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  2. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
  3. The nature of the copyrighted work.
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. (Other factors and criteria may also be considered by the courts.)

Further information about specific criteria may be obtained through University librarians.