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Skidmore College
Information Technology

Copyright Policy

The purpose of the following document is to state in plain English Skidmore's copyright policy as it pertains to various media and distinct uses. Any questions about interpretation or applicability of these guidelines, the application of the copyright laws to academic exercises in general or on the mechanics of seeking permission may be referred to Marta Brunner, college librarian, Scribner Library (ext. 5506). The guidelines in this document are drawn from numerous sources including existing copyright statements from Scribner Library, IT and Media Services. Statements on multimedia, digital images and software are taken directly from the CONFU (Conference on Fair use) Interim Report of December 1996. These guidelines do not have the force of law but are recommended minimal standards for the application of fair use. See Appendix A for a definition of "fair use" as it appears in the copyright law.

Copyright is a continually changing area of law and the guidelines for digital images, multimedia and software are only proposed guidelines and have not been endorsed by all parties. The guidelines for particular media are minimal guidelines to assist in interpreting fair use, but they are only guidelines and do not have the force of law. However, it is general legal opinion that if one conforms to these guidelines then one is unlikely to be sued for copyright infringement.

Preface  |  Print Materials  |  Video Guidelines
Music and Sound Recordings  |  Digital Images
Educational Multimedia  |  Software
Fair Use Guidelines  |  Seeking Permission
Registering Your Own Works  |  Enforcement at Skidmore

Preface: What Falls Under Copyright?

Everything is Protected

Current international law states that all original work is protected by copyright regardless of whether or not a copyright notice is attached. This includes unpublished manuscripts, news reports, public speeches, personal correspondence, photographs, graphic images, videos, computer software and of course published journals and monographs and any other physical expression of an idea.

To be free of copyright an author (or subsequent copyright owner) must state explicitly that the work has been placed in the public domain.

What does copyright cover or not cover?

Copyright covers the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself.

For example:

    • You can copyright your murder mystery, but you cannot copyright the underlying plot.
    • You can copyright computer software, but you cannot copyright the algorithms employed by that software.
    • Copyright does not generally apply to unoriginal or noncreative compilations of public information including sports scores, telephone directories and stock market quotes.
    • Copyright does not apply to U.S. government publications except to the extent that they contain copyrighted works from other sources. The right to photocopy does not extend to documents published by others with the support of U.S. grants or contracts. 
    • Anyone can make a copy of works published before March 1, 1989, which do not have a copyright notice. After that date, the need for a copyright notice was abolished and so any work created after that date is under copyright regardless of whether or not a notice of copyright is affixed. 
    • Anyone can copy published works on which the copyright term and any renewals have expired. 

Works published (publicly distributed) more than 95 years ago may be in the public domain, depending upon whether an owner renewed the copyright. One should assume copyright or ask the library to ascertain if the work is still under copyright.

For works published prior to 1978, the original term of copyright endures for 28 years from the date it was secured.

If the copyright of a work published before 1978 was renewed, the term endures for 95 years from the date copyright was originally secured.

If a work was published after January 1, 1978, the term of the copyright is the life of the author plus 70 years, but at least until December 31, 2002.

What rights does a copyright owner have?

Section 106 of the Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  1. Reproduce copies of the work. 
  2. Prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work. 
  3. Distribute copies of the work by sale, rental, lease or lending. 
  4. Publicly perform the work. 
  5. Publicly display the work. 
  6. Publicly perform copyrighted sound recordings by means of a digital audio transmission. 

These rights are not absolute and are subject to "fair use" limitations (See Appendix A) and the guidelines in Parts I through VI of this document.

Part I: Print Materials

Multiple Copies for Classroom Use

For classroom use, Skidmore follows the American Library Association's Model Policy Concerning College and University Photocopying for Classroom, Research, and Library Reserve Use (1982). With respect to classroom uses, the policy suggests the following guidelines: 

  • the distribution of the same photocopied material does not occur every semester; 
  • only one copy is distributed for each student per course; 
  • the material includes a copyright notice on the first page of the portion of material photocopied; and
  • students are not assessed any fee beyond the actual cost of photocopying. 

Furthermore, copying should meet the tests of brevity and spontaneity.


Brevity as defined in the footnote is not necessarily appropriate to higher education's needs and it is generally accepted that colleges need more flexibility than the guidelines allow. 


  1. The copying is at the instance or inspiration of the individual teacher, and 
  2. The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission. 

Overall, the photocopying should not have a significant detrimental impact on the market for the copyrighted work. Therefore, 

  • The professor should restrict use of an item of photocopied material to one course 
  • The professor should not repeatedly photocopy excerpts from one periodical or author without permission of the copyright owner. The classroom guidelines suggest that no more than one article, poem, story or essay may be copied from the same author and no more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term. 
  • There should not be more than nine instances of multiple copying for one course during the class term. 


  • Copying shall not be used to create or replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works. 
  • There shall be no copying of or from consumable works such as copyrighted workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets, etc. 
  • Copying shall not: 
  • Substitute for purchase of books, reprints or periodicals 
  • Be directed by a higher authority (i.e. the dean of faculty cannot direct you to copy specific materials for your courses.)
  • Be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.

Reserve Use

Skidmore follows the ALA Guidelines for Classroom Use in as much as our Reserves Service functions as an extension of classroom readings. These guidelines are also included in the Scribner Library Reserve Policy, which is available with a sample permission form on the library's website. 

  • It is reasonable to believe that fair use applies to the library's reserve shelf to the extent that it functions as an extension of classroom readings or reflects an individual student's right to photocopy for his or her personal scholastic use. 
  • The library should own a copy of a work placed on reserve or 
  • The library may accept a copy of a work that is not in its collections from a faculty member. 
  • Only one article from a single author, or three from the same collective work or periodical volume, may be placed on reserve. Faculty members who wish to place more than three chapters from a collected work or monograph or more than three single journal issues on reserve must seek permission. 
  • Generally, the library should not place more than five photocopies of a single article, reading, etc., on reserve, but factors such as the length or difficulty of the assignment, the number of enrolled students and the length of time given for completion of the assignment may permit the library to place more than five photocopies on reserve. 
  • If faculty members wish to place material on reserve for a second semester, they must seek permission to do so. 
  • The library will seek permission from the Copyright Clearance Center and will process and pay for the copyright privileges. If the item is not listed in the Copyright Clearance Center database, the item will be returned to the faculty member and he/she is responsible for seeking permission to place the material on reserve. The Association of American Publishers provides guidelines for requesting copyright permission as well as a request form that can be printed out and used to fax or mail your request. See Appendix B of the College's Copyright Policy.

Placing Entire Works or Large Sections of a Monograph on Reserve

Sometimes a faculty member wishes to place multiple photocopies of an entire work on reserve. 

  • If the work is out of print, it is unlikely that the library can obtain the work "for a fair price," and under Section 108(e) of the Copyright Act, the library may either photocopy a work it owns or accept three photocopies from the faculty member. If the work is still under copyright, the faculty member must seek permission from the publisher of the work. 
  • If the work is in print, the library can only accept individual chapters (not to exceed 10% of the entire work during a single semester). 

Sheet Music

A faculty member can copy for classroom use or to have placed on reserves: 

  • An excerpt which is no more than 10% of the whole work and which does not comprise a part of the whole work that would constitute a performable unit such as a section, movement or aria. 
  • The number of copies should not exceed more than one per student. 
  • Copying cannot replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works. 
  • Purchased printed copies may be edited or simplified provided that the fundamental character of the work is not distorted or the lyrics altered or added if none exist. 
  • A copyright notice must appear on the printed copy.

Interlibrary Loan

The following section is derived from the CONTU (Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works) guidelines. While not the law, these guidelines provide some direction for libraries to follow. They pertain only to periodicals published within five years of the patron's request. For older journals, wholesale copying is not permitted and the general fair-use guidelines (See Appendix A) should apply. 

  • During a calendar year, the library may not request more than six copies from a single periodical title. If the cumulative number of requests from students or faculty requires more than six copies, the library will look at subsequently purchasing the title, but as an interim measure the ILL office will either pay copyright fees or use a commercial supplier. In either case the costs will be passed onto the patron only if the requests for six or more copies originate from the same patron. 
  • With respect to any other material, including poetry and fiction anthologies, filled requests will not exceed six copies or phonorecords within a calendar year. 

Part II: Video Guidelines

In-Library Use

  • Most showings of a videotape in a public room as part of an entertainment or cultural program, whether a fee is charged or not, is infringing and a performance license is required from the copyright owner. 
  • To the extent that a videotape is used in an educational program conducted in a public room in the library, the performance will not be infringing if the requirements for classroom use are met. 
  • If patrons are allowed to view videotapes on library-owned equipment, they should be limited to private performances, i.e., one person or no more than a small number of persons, at a time. 
  • Even if a videotape is labeled "For Home Use Only," private viewing in the library should be considered to be authorized by the vendor's sale to the library if the vendor makes this sale with knowledge of the library's intention to use the videotape on library-owned equipment. 
  • Videotapes may be loaned to patrons for personal use outside of the library. 
  • If patrons inquire about a planned use (performance) of a videotape, they should be informed that only private uses of it are lawful.

Classroom and Campus Use

Classroom use or showing of a copyrighted videotape is permissible under the following conditions: 

  • The use must be by instructors or by students. 
  • The use is in connection with teaching activities and is confined to members in a discrete course or other teaching activity. 
  • The entire audience is involved with the teaching activity. 
  • The entire audience is in same general physical area. 
  • The showing takes place in a classroom or other instructional venue (library, gym, auditorium or workshop) 
  • The videotape is lawfully made; the person responsible has no reason to believe that the videotape was not lawfully made.

Off-Air Taping

  • Off-air broadcasts may be videotaped and legally shown once to a single class within the first 10 days after the date of the broadcast. This does not allow for multiple showings or general showings within the college. 
  • The taping must be from a commercial broadcast (no premium cable channels). 
  • After 10 days they may not be shown unless copyright clearance is obtained. 
  • The professor may retain the tape for an additional 35 days for personal evaluation purposes only. After that time the tape must be erased or copyright clearance obtained.

Part III: Music and Sound Recordings

Unless licensed, the public performance of music, whether for educational purposes or not, is a copyright infringement. Public performance includes both the playing of a sound recording and the instrumental or voice performance of copyrighted musical work or composition.

Performances that are not an infringement include:

  • performance of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of teaching activities in a classroom or other place devoted to instruction, if the copy was lawfully made;
  • performance of a non-dramatic literary work or musical if the performance is directly related to the course content and the performance takes place in a space devoted to instruction;
  • performance of a non-dramatic literary work, musical work or of a dramatic-musical work of a religious nature in the course of religious services;
  • performance of a non-dramatic literary work or music without any commercial purpose and without payment to any performers, promoters or organizers if no admission is charged or if the proceeds are used exclusively for educational, religious, or charitable purposes, provided the copyright holder has been given notice and except if the copyright holder (having been given notice) objects seven days in advance in writing;
  • public reception of a transmission of a performance on a consumer type receiver and speakers unless a direct charge is made to see or hear the program or the program received is further transmitted to the public; and
  • a single copy of a sound recording of copyrighted music may be made from sound recordings owned by Skidmore or an individual faculty member for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations and may be retained by Skidmore for the faculty member. 

Part IV: Digital Images

The following guidelines are derived from the CONFU (Conference on Fair Use) Interim Report's draft of the Educational Fair Use Guidelines for Digital Images. The complete text of the CONFU guidelines can be found on the Internet at:

These guidelines do not apply to images acquired in digital form or to those in the public domain.

Newly Acquired Analog Visual Images

General Guidelines

  • Only lawfully acquired copyrighted analog images (including original visual images, reproductions, published reproductions and copies of published reproductions) may be digitized unless such images are readily available in usable digital form for purchase or license at a fair price. Images that are available in usable digital form should not be digitized for addition to an institutional image collection without permission. 
  • Where the rights holder of an image is unknown, a digitized image may be used for up to three years, provided that reasonable inquiry (see CONFU report) is conducted by the institution seeking permission to digitize, retain and reuse the image. If after three years Skidmore is unable to identify sufficient information to seek permission, any further use is subject to the general fair-use guidelines (see Appendix A). 
  • Images may be digitized for spontaneous use if the inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely request for permission, but they may not be retained in the institution's image collection. 
  • Specific images may be subject to a license or a contract, which may take precedence over these guidelines. 
  • When digitizing and using images from a single source such as a published compilation (including books or slide sets), or from individual frames from motion pictures or other audiovisual works, be aware that fair use limits the number and substantiality (usually not more than 10%) of the images that may be used from a single source. 
  • It is appropriate to use images in their entirety in order to respect the integrity of the original visual image. Portions of the image may be used to highlight certain details as long as the full image is linked to the portion. 
  • In order to maintain the integrity of copyrighted works, educators, scholars and students are advised to exercise care when making any alterations and to note the nature of the changes made. 
  • Images may be displayed on a campus network for if they are accompanied by a notice stating that the images shall not be downloaded, copied, retained, printed, shared, modified or otherwise used, except as provided for in the permitted educational uses under these guidelines. 
  • Access to, display or distribution of images digitized under these guidelines, including thumbnail images, is not permitted beyond the Skidmore network. 
  • Educators, scholars and students should credit the sources and display the copyright with any copyright information shown in the original source, including adequately identifying the source of the work, giving full bibliographic description when available or citing the electronic address if the work is from a networked resource. 

Creating Thumbnail Images for Visual Catalogs

  • An educational institution may create thumbnail images of lawfully acquired images for inclusion in a visual catalog, and these may be displayed on the campus network and accessed by educators, scholars and students affiliated with Skidmore. There is no permission to display these images beyond Skidmore's own campus network (even for educational purposes). 

Course Compilations of Digital Images

  • Faculty may develop a compilation of images for use in the classroom, after-class review, or directed study. 
  • These may be displayed on the network as long as there are technological limitations (such as a password) restricting access only to students enrolled in the course. 
  • The images may be displayed on the network only during the term in which the course is given. After that they may be stored in digital form while permission is being sought, but the instructor must seek permission to reuse the images after the initial use. 
  • If permission is not received, any use outside the scope of these guidelines is subject to the general fair-use guidelines. (See Appendix A.) 

Use of Images for Peer Conferences and Publications

  • Educators, scholars and students may use or display digital images in connection with lectures or presentations in their fields, including uses at non-commercial professional development seminars, workshops and conferences. 
  • Images should not be reproduced for publications in print or digital form without seeking permission. Before publishing images under fair use, even for scholarly or critical purposes, scholars and scholarly publishers should conduct the four-factor fair-use analysis. 

Student use of Digitized Images

Students may:

  • use digital images in an academic course assignment such as a term paper or a thesis and in the fulfillment of degree requirements;
  • publicly display their academic work incorporating digital images in courses for which they are registered and during formal critiques at a non-profit educational institution; and
  • retain their academic work in their personal portfolios for later uses such as graduate school and employment applications.
  • Other student uses are outside the scope of these guidelines and are subject to the four-factor fair-use analysis (see Appendix A).

Preexisting Analog Collections

  • Skidmore educators, scholars and students may digitize images from preexisting analog image collections during a period of seven years from the time when one first digitizes an analog image, and they may begin to use those images during this transition period to support educational uses under these guidelines. Simultaneously, they should begin to seek permission to digitize, retain and reuse all digitized images. 
  • This should not be interpreted as sanctioning systematic copying from Skidmore's collection of books, films or periodicals—but only its analog image collection (slides and reproductions). 
  • If the college is unable to identify sufficient information to seek permission, continued retention and use is subject to the four-factor fair-use guidelines. 
  • All other guidelines pertaining to digital images stated above (except the time limit for retention) apply to preexiting analog collections as well. 

Part V: Educational Multimedia

Educational multimedia projects created under these guidelines incorporate students' or educators' original material, such as course notes or commentary, together with various copyrighted media formats including but not limited to motion media, music, text material, graphics, illustrations, photographs and digital software which are combined into an integrated presentation. Note that other fair-use guidelines such as those for off-air taping may be relevant.

General Guidelines

  • The copyrighted works must have been lawfully obtained through purchase, gift or license agreement. 
  • Educators may use multimedia projects that they have created for a period of up to two years after the first instructional use with a class. Use beyond that time period, even for educational purposes, requires permission for each copyrighted portion incorporated into the production. Students may use them for the duration of the course for which they have been created. 
  • The following portion limitations apply cumulatively to each educator or student's multimedia project(s) for the same academic semester, cycle or term. 
    • Motion media: Up to 10% or three minutes, whichever is less.
    • Text material: Up to 10% or 1,000 words, whichever is less.
    • Poetry: An entire poem of fewer than 250 words may be used, but no more than three poems by one poet, or five poems by different poets from an anthology may be used. For poems of greater length, 250 words may be used, but not more than three excerpts by a poet or five excerpts by different poets from a single anthology may be used.
    • Music, lyrics, music video: Up to 10%, but in no event more than 30 seconds of the music and lyrics from an individual musical work (or in the aggregate of extracts from an individual work), whether the musical work is embodied in copies or audio or audiovisual works. Any alterations to a musical work shall not change the basic melody or the fundamental character of the work.
    • Illustrations and photographs: A photograph or an image may be used in its entirety, but you can use no more than five images by an artist or photographer. When using phonographs and illustrations from a published collective work, not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less.
    • Numerical Data Sets: Up to 10% or 2,500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less, from a copyrighted database or data table.
  • Only a limited number of copies, including the original, may be made of the educator's project. There may be no more than two use copies, only one of which may be placed on reserve. An additional copy may be made for preservation purposes, but it may only be used or copied to replace a used copy that has been lost, stolen or damaged. In the case of jointly created projects, each principal creator may retain one copy for use either at conferences or in a professional portfolio. 
  • Educators and students must seek individual permission before (see section entitled Educator Use) using copyrighted works for non-educational or commercial reproduction or distribution. 
  • These works may not be used over networks except as described below without obtaining permission for all copyrighted works incorporated into a program. 
  • Educators, scholars and students should credit the sources and display the copyright with any copyright information shown in the original source of the work, giving full bibliographic description when available, or citing the electronic address if the work is from a networked source. 
  • Educators and students may make alterations in portions of the copyrighted works only if the alterations support specific instructional objectives. Creators should note what alterations have been made. 
  • Fair use shall not preempt or supersede license and contractual obligations that may exist for the copyrighted works. 
  • Notification that portions of educators' or students' works are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Act and are restricted from further use. 

Student Use

  • Students may incorporate portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works when producing their own educational multimedia projects for a specific course. 
  • Students may also use their projects in their own portfolios as examples of their academic work. 

Educator Use

  • Educators may incorporate portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works when producing multimedia projects for their own teaching tools in support of curriculum-based instructional activities for 
    • Face-to-face instruction 
    • Assignment for directed self-study or after class review provided there are technological limitations on access to the network and the project (such as a required password). 
    • Remote instruction to students enrolled in curriculum-based courses over a network provided there are technological limitations on access to the project (such as a required password). 
    • Individual students and faculty can make copies for personal use only, but may not redistribute these copies under current fair use guidelines. 
  • Educators may perform or display their own educational multimedia projects in presentations to their peers at conferences or workshops. 
  • Educators may retain educational multimedia projects in their personal portfolios for later uses such as tenure review or job interviews. 

Part VI: Software

The extension of copyright law to computer software is evolving rapidly with much disagreement, most of which remains untested in the courts. The following guidelines represent conventional wisdom on software copyright, but it remains unknown whether all of these conditions could survive the rigors of a legal challenge.

Software Licenses

Some vendors require the buyer to sign a license prior to purchasing the software. If so, the license terms overrule any standard copyright conditions. The buyer must abide by all conditions of the signed license. On the other hand, unsigned "shrink wrap" licenses are of dubious legitimacy. The term "shrink wrap" derives from the common practice of printing the license terms on the outside of the envelope that contains the installation disks, accompanied by a statement that opening the envelope constitutes acceptance of the license terms.

Site licenses are almost always governed by explicit signed licenses.

General Guidelines

There is a wide range of licensing rules posted by the various publishers. The most aggressive assert the principle of authorizing only a single copy on a single computer used by a single individual. They typically forbid any transfer of the license to anyone else.

Several experts have criticized this position and argue for a less strict guideline of single user with no restriction on copies or sites. This position forms the basis for these recommendations.

  • When a person purchases a single copy of software, one purchases the right for one person to use that program.
    • Either the purchaser or another user can use it on different machines, 
    • But it cannot be used by more than one person at a time. 
  • Software may be installed on a file server or other computers, provided that it is not used by more than one person at any time. This situation could apply to an infrequently used program within an office or department. When it becomes more broadly used, additional copies must be purchased to match actual usage patterns. 
  • The user cannot tamper with the software in any way that removes or causes doubt as to the original author and copyright holder. For example, one cannot remove a copyright notice from software nor can one change the name of the copyright holder within that notice. 
  • The purchaser may make backup copies of the program and may choose to store those copies in diverse locations. A person may use the backup copy instead of the original, so long as only one copy is in use at any time. 
  • If a person upgrades software to a newer edition by purchasing an "upgrade," one still owns only one license and must continue to protect the older edition. If a person upgrades by purchasing a completely new copy, there are now two licenses and they may be treated as separate products. 
  • A person may give away or resell the program to someone else only if all other copies are destroyed. Anything else is software piracy. 
  • A software bundle which contains a number of individual programs is licensed as a single program. A person cannot sell or give away portions of the suite, nor allow others to use one portion of the suite while s/he is using another portion of the same suite. 
  • The purchaser should maintain proof of ownership for all commercial software. This can take the form of a sales receipt, retaining the master installation disks or the original documentation. In a legal audit, a person can be required to prove ownership of all software installed on each computer in his/her possession. 

Scope of Copyright Protection

  • Copyright protects the expression but not the underlying concepts. When writing software, a person cannot copy someone else's source or machine code, but s/he can copy the author's mathematical algorithms, and broad logic. It remains legally uncertain whether you a person copy the "look and feel" of another product. 
  • In some cases, software authors have obtained a patent for their work. Patents carry stricter protection than copyrights and forbid copying of both the idea and its expression. 

Appendix A: Fair Use Guideline

(Courtesy of Cornell University Law School)

Appendix B: Seeking Permission

It is prudent to first phone the publisher to:

  • determine who owns the copyright to the item you wish to copy and place on Reserve (publishing imprints are often sold to other publishers);
  • obtain the name of the contact person in the permissions department; and
  • learn what information you must provide in order to obtain permission to copy.

Generally you will be asked to identify the:

  • college;
  • class by name and number;
  • term it will be taught; and
  • name of the professor who is teaching the class. 

The copyright holder will also need the correct bibliographic information. For a book that includes author, title, publication date, publisher, ISBN and exact portion to be copied (pages 1–150, the entire book, chapters 3–10, etc.). Once the copyright holder receives your request, you will be sent an agreement to sign which must be returned with your check for the copyright permission fee.

The Association of American Publishers provides guidelines for requesting copyright permission as well as a request form that can be printed out and used to fax or mail your request.

Appendix C: Registering Your Own Works

Copyright protection exists as soon as you create an original work in a tangible form. Copyright registration is a legal formality that makes a public record of your copyright and provides several advantages to you.

Who should register copyright?

Anyone who has created an original work fixed in a tangible form of expression and wants to protect their work. No matter what form (book, video, computer software, musical score, graphic image, etc.) that original work takes, copyright laws protect it and copyright registration adds to that protection.

Why should you register copyright?

  1. Registration creates a public record of your copyright.
  2. Registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin before you can file an infringement suit in court.
  3. Registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of your copyright.
  4. Registration made within three months after publication or prior to an infringement will allow you to seek statutory damages and payment of attorney fees if your copyright is violated.
  5. Registration allows you to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service to protect you from the importation of copyright-infringing copies.

When should you register copyright?

You can register your copyright at any time during the life of the copyright, but early registration gives you certain advantages.

If you register within three months after publication or prior to an infringement, you can seek statutory damages and payment of attorney fees if your copyright is violated. If you do not register your copyright within these time constraints, you can only collect actual damages, which may be nominal.

If you register before or within five years of publication, your registration will establish prima facie evidence of the validity of your copyright in a court of law.

Where do you register copyright?

The procedures for registering your copyright are found on the Internet at where you can also print the required forms using Adobe Acrobat Reader. What you are copyrighting determines what form you use. The Internet site provides a list and description of all the available forms with instructions for printing.

If you have questions, you may speak to a copyright information specialist by calling the Copyright Office at 202-707-3000 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. If you call to order Copyright Office publications or application forms, you may leave a message 24 hours a day at 202-707-9100.

The address to use is:

U.S. Copyright Office
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue S.E.
Washington DC 20559-6000

Appendix D: Enforcement of Copyright

Regulations at Skidmore


Current international law states that all original work is protected by copyright regardless of whether or not a copyright notice is attached. This includes unpublished manuscripts, news reports, public speeches, personal correspondence, photographs, graphic images, music, videos, computer software and of course published journals and monographs and any other physical expression of an idea. To be free of copyright, an author (or subsequent copyright owner) must state explicitly that the work has been placed in the public domain. Any person violating copyright policies is in violation of Skidmore’s copyright policy.

Print Violations

(From U.S Copyright Office. Library of Congress. "Copyright Basics: What Works Are Protected?" June 1999)

Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Use of the following categories of works without permission of the copyright holder will be in violation copyright law and of this policy statement. 

  • literary works
  • musical works, including any accompanying words
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • pantomimes and choreographic works
  • pictorial, graphic and sculptural works
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • sound recordings
  • architectural works

These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most "compilations" may be registered as "literary works"; maps and architectural plans may be registered as "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works."

Web Violations

Forgery and Misrepresentation
Just as it is possible for someone to forge a signature on a paper document, one can make it appear as though a different person created a web page. The college views such practices as a violation of this policy statement.

FTP Sites
Creating FTP sites that distribute copyrighted information such as music, images, etc. is a serious violation of this policy statement.

Response to Claimed Violations

The DMCA agent (see "Web" below) or person or office receiving the infringement notification will address the suspected violation. If necessary, the violation will be reported to the appropriate authority for investigation and adjudication as follows:

For claims of infringement by DCMA Agent
Faculty The dean of the faculty
Administration and staff The immediate office director and supervisor.
Students The dean of student affairs for action or delegation under the Student Handbook to the Integrity Board if the violation is related to a Skidmore course or to the Social Integrity Board if the violation is related to action not connected to a Skidmore course.
Union personnel Human Resources director
All members of the college Any member of the college who believes that improper use of web pages has violated their academic freedom may present their case to the Committee on Academic Freedoms and Rights.


When the agent to receive statutory notices about infringements under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act receives a report of suspected copyright violation, he/she will "respond expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing."

The Center for Information Technology Services (IT) will temporarily disable a user's account if it reasonably believes that the user represents a serious ongoing threat to copyright violation or a violation of this policy statement.


Rev. 8/99 to accommodate copyright expiration extensions (the "Sonny Bono" law).
Rev. 9/99 to update library's role in copyright clearance for reserve items.
Rev. 10/99 to add Appendix C.
Rev. 1/2000 to add Appendix D and to replace some missing text in prior edition.
Rev. 9/2000 to correct minor typographic errors.
Rev. 10/2014 to correct web links and formatting