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Copyright Law for Faculty & Students

Understanding Copyright Law

The U.S. Copyright Act (1976) defines the rights of the copyright holder and how the law may be enforced against any infringer of copyright.

  • Copyright protection begins upon fixing “in any tangible medium” any “original works of authorship”
  • Registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is NOT required, but is needed to collect statutory damages upon infringement (set penalties already apply)
  • Digital and image content have the same protections as print or text

The copyright owner has the rights to:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Prepare derivative works
  • Distribute copies/recordings of work
  • Perform the work publicly
  • Display the work publicly
  • Perform the work publicly by digital transmission

A violation of copyright occurs when use of the work infringes on the rights of the owner.

Citing a source is not a substitute for permission to reproduce or distribute the work.

Copyright at Roseman University

Roseman University of Health Sciences has a Use of Copyrighted Works Policy.  The policy can be found on the University Policies webpage ( under General University Policies.

Here is a summary:

  • It is the responsibility of Roseman faculty, staff and students to identify the ownership of copyrighted works and make a good faith determination of whether the intended use falls within fair use or other exemptions.
  • All four factors for determining fair use must be considered, not just the purpose of educational use.
  • When fair use cannot be established, it is the responsibility of the faculty member, staff member, or student to seek permission for use from the copyright holder prior to use of the work. Citing a work is not a substitute for obtaining permission.
  • It is the responsibility of the faculty or staff member, or his or her program or unit, to pay for permission fees when they are required. Students may contact their program to request assistance with permission fees.
  • It is the responsibility of students to not only properly cite copyrighted works, but also to ensure that the use of the work does not violate copyright law. When in doubt, contact a librarian.
  • It is the responsibility of the faculty member to properly attribute ownership of copyrighted materials in course content and to include a statement visible to students indicating that the material cited is subject to the copyright law of the United States.
  • Roseman University will not assume legal responsibility for faculty, staff or students who neglect to identify copyright ownership, do not make a good faith determination of fair use, or otherwise do not comply with this policy or with U.S. copyright law.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a 1998 United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM). It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.

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