Copyright Compliance: Compliance Policy

Policy Preparation

Checklist for creating a Copyright Policy

Academic Copyright Policy - Sample

Tips for a Successful Rollout and Implementation

Checklist for creating a Copyright Policy

Regardless of the form your copyright policy takes, there are a number of issues that you will want to address in it. The following checklist will help ensure that you have considered a wide range of copyright topics when developing your policy.

When developing a copyright compliance policy for your academic institution, consider the following:

  1. Purpose of the policy. It is a good idea to establish the need for, and benefits of, the copyright policy. These reasons include: encouraging the lawful use of copyright-protected materials through established procedures; protecting the institution against the risk of copyright infringement; and complying with legislation such as the DMCA and the TEACH Act.
  2. Relationship to other policies. If there are other institutional policies that address copyright or other intellectual property issues, these should be mentioned here and cross-referenced with those policies.
  3. Scope of the policy audience. Articulate to whom the policy applies, such as faculty and other instructors, students, administrative staff, libraries, university press, university bookstores, visiting faculty, researchers, business staff, and the general public.
  4. Campus copyright officials. Identify Copyright Officers and other individuals and departments responsible for campus copyright issues. Explain their roles and responsibilities and provide their contact information.
  5. Definitions specific to the policy. Define any terms that may have more than one meaning, are subject to interpretation or may otherwise require clarification. Some of these terms include: faculty, librarians, staff, students, research, license, work-for-hire, and commissioned works.
  6. Basic copyright principles. Include a primer on basic copyright principles (or refer to existing print and/or online resources on U.S. and international copyright law) to educate policy readers.
  7. Ownership of copyright materials. It is important to clearly identify and define who owns works prepared under the auspices of the university, how these works can be used, and what the process and criteria are for releasing these works. Works to be addressed include:
    1. Works made-for-hire
    2. Commissioned works
    3. Works prepared by faculty and other employed persons
    4. Works created by students
    5. Works prepared by independent consultants
    6. Campus research
    7. Publication of works created at the university
    8. Shared rights
    9. Works acquired by gift, purchase or will
  8. Ensure the protection of the institution's copyrighted materials. Define the procedures for registering copyrighted works and for using the copyright symbol: ©.
  9. Using copyrighted materials. Outline the institution's policy on the use of copyrighted materials. Identify when permission is necessary for each type of work and type of use. Include a thorough definition of fair use, the institution's position on fair use, the criteria and guidelines for conducting a fair use analysis and examples.

    The types of works to address include:

    1. Coursepacks
    2. Text books
    3. Faculty and student Web sites
    4. Video, film and sound recordings
    5. Computer software
    6. Intranet postings
    7. Internet postings
    8. Electronic databases and periodicals
    9. Government publications
    10. Photographs and other visual materials
    11. Musical scores

    Issues to address may include:

    1. ILL and document delivery
    2. Print and electronic library reserves
    3. Classroom use
    4. Distance learning including the application of the TEACH Act
    5. Republication
    6. Course management systems
    7. Photocopying
    8. P2P file sharing
  10. Procedures for obtaining copyright permission. Provide a thorough description of the process for obtaining permission to use copyright-protected works.

    If your institution works with Copyright Clearance Center to obtain copyright permission, provide instructions for contacting Copyright Clearance Center, researching titles, requesting permission and paying the royalties and fees. Also include a description of Copyright Clearance Center's solutions and indicate which service should be used for each type of permission required.

    If your institution does not work with Copyright Clearance Center, provide instructions for contacting copyright holders directly. Include suggestions for identifying copyright holders and locating them, should that information not be readily available, as well as a reminder that it may take some time to receive a response from the copyright holder. Also reference any institutional database for tracking permission already received and how one may access that database.

    When requesting copyright permission, include the following information:

    • Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
    • Your title, position and institution's name.
    • The date of your request.
    • The title of the work to be copied, with a description and citation of that work.
    • A description of how the work is to be used, by whom, and for how long.
    • A signature line for the copyright holder to sign, signifying that permission has been granted.
  11. Copyright infringement and compliance. Explain procedures for reporting possible copyright infringement and/or non-compliance with your institution's copyright policy. Explain how these complaints are processed and managed, outline potential consequences, and describe procedures for dispute resolution. Publicize the name and contact information of your appointed copyright officer or the person to contact to report infringement.
  12. Policy management. Discuss training, updates and review/revision of the policy.
  13. FAQs. Consider including a list of frequently asked questions to help readers understand how the policy affects them and their responsibilities under it.
  14. Index. If the policy is lengthy, consider including an index.
  15. Appendix. Some policies contain forms for items such as:
    • Copyright infringement report
    • Fair use checklist
    • E-reserve request form
    • Assignment of rights
    • Permission request form
    • List of additional copyright resources your institution recommends as authoritative resources