Policies and Procedures

D0601 Copyright Compliance


Western Technical College requires all students, faculty, and staff to adhere to United States copyright law. Copyright is a legal protection for creators of original works and grants the copyright holder the sole right to allow for the reproduction, distribution, preparation, performance or display of the work. If any student or employee witnesses a potential copyright infringement, they are expected to report the violation to either their supervisor or divisional academic leadership.

The administrator of the Library, or his/her designee, will serve as the Copyright Coordinator with authority on determining Western's compliance with copyright policies and procedures. When using print, data, or media materials for instruction that are not explicit as to copyright limitation, such materials must first be submitted to the Copyright Coordinator, unless specific instructions concerning the material can be found in the District's policies.

Proposed Procedure:

In order to use copyrighted material, the creator of the original work must grant written approval except in the following cases:

  1. The copyright holder has explicitly granted open access to the material through an organization that allows copyright holders to determine various levels of use (such as Creative Commons).
  2. Under the judicial doctrine of fair use, not-for-profit educational institutions have limited rights for classroom use of certain copyrighted material. Single copies of the following may be made for "scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
    1. A chapter from a book
    2. An article from a periodical or newspaper
    3. A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work
    4. A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper" (United States Copyright Office, 2014, p. 6).
  3. According to the United States Copyright Office (2014), multiple copies (not to exceed one copy per pupil in a course) may be made so long as the copied portions include a notice of copyright and are:
    1. Spontaneous (i.e., the inspiration and decision of the individual instructor to use the work and the moment of use are so close in time it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission),
    2. Brief (i.e., a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words; a complete poem of less than 250 words; or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work, whichever is less), and
    3. Limited in cumulative effect (e.g., multiple copies of any given work for only one class; not more than one short poem, article, story, essay, or two excerpts from the same author; not more than three short poems, articles, stories, essays, or excerpts from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term; and not more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term).

Copying consumables, such as workbooks, answer sheets, tests and exercises is strictly prohibited.

For more information on the process for receiving approval to use copyrighted material, a case history on fair use, or detailed guidelines for classroom use, please reference https://www.copyright.gov

Please click here for a link to a copyright guide for teachers. 

The following sources were used in creating this policy/procedure and are recommended resources to consult when copyright questions arise:

Auberry, K. (2015). Managing copyright in higher education: A guidebook. Library Journal, 140(3), 114.

Fowler, F. (2013). Policy studies for educational leaders: An introduction (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Copyright Compliance Center. (2012). Guidelines for creating a copyright compliance policy. Retrieved from http://www.copyright.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/White_Paper_CR-Guidelines.pdf

United States Copyright Office. (2003). Questions and answers on copyright for the campus community. Retrieved from: www.copyright.gov

United States Copyright Office. (2014). Circular 21: Reproduction of copyrighted works by educators and librarians. Retrieved from https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf

Wiggins, M. M. (2011). Managing fair use on campus: The online academic administrator's dilemma. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 14(4), 4.

Communication Plan Audience(s):

☐ Faculty
☐ Students
☐ Student Services Staff
☐ Academic Leaders
☐ Senior Leaders
☐ Other________________________


Adopted April 20, 1999

Revised December 19, 2017