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Copyright and Duplication

Section Title:Administration and Finance
Policy Number:461
Policy Name:Copyright and Duplication
Responsible Unit:Employee Relations
Date Adopted:June 11, 1997


When making copies of a work or displaying a work publicly, one shall obtain permission of the owner unless the copyright has expired, the work has no copyright protection, one has a license for the use of the work, or the copy or display falls within the guidelines for “fair use.”



This policy governs the copying and use of print and non-print materials. Such materials can include print, computer print-out, computer software, and broadcast programming, for example. The purpose of this policy is to inform the Ramapo College Community of their obligations under the copyright law and the procedures employed to assure compliance with the law. All faculty, staff, students, visitors and guests shall adhere to this policy.

I. Copyright Defined

A copyright is a statutory property right to original works of authorship, including works of literature, art, dance, computer programs and certain other intellectual works (17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.) The statutory created right gives the owner of the copyright the exclusive right (and the right to authorize others) to reproduce the work, distribute copies or phone records of the work, perform the work publicly, display the work publicly, lend a work, prepare a derivative work based upon the original, transfer, rent or lease such work.

II. Works That Are Protected

A 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. Copyrighted works include the following categories.

  • 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
  • computer programs
  • compilations

A copyright is automatically secured upon creation when it is fixed in copy or phone record for the first time. For works published after March 1, 1989, copyright notice is optional. For works created prior to March 1, 1989, other notice provisions apply; specifically, the owners cannot enforce their legal rights until the copyright is registered with the Copyright Office in Washington D.C. In all cases, however, registration provides certain advantages, including the ability to qualify for an award of attorney’s fees and substantial statutory damages. Copyright protection cannot be determined merely by looking at a work.

III. Permission to Use And/Or Copy a Copyrighted Work

When making copies of a work or displaying a work publicly, one shall obtain permission of the owner unless the copyright has expired, the work has no copyright protection, one has a license for the use of the work, or the copy or display falls within the guidelines for “fair use.”

The term “fair use” is in flux at the time of the College’s adoption of this policy; however, the College adopts the following guidelines to assure compliance with the law.

There is a limitation on an owner’s exclusive right to use a work. If the use of copyrighted material meets the statutory definition of “fair use” (17 U.S.C. Section 107), a protected work may be used without permission.

In determining whether the use made of a work falls within the definition of fair use one needs to consider:

  • The purpose and character of the use-commercial versus educational.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work.
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

IV. Guidelines for “Fair Use” [1]

  1. Print Media
    1. Single Copying For Faculty Members
      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
    2. Multiple Copies For Classroom Use
      1. Multiple copies (should not exceed in any event more than one copy per student in a course) may be made by or for the faculty member Teaching the course for classroom use or discussion provided that:
      2. The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below; and
      3. Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below; and
      4. Each copy includes a notice of copyright

V. The following definitions apply to the above guidelines

  1. Brevity
    1. Poetry
      1. a complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or;
      2. From a larger poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
    2. Prose
      1. either a complete article, story, or essay of less than 2,500 words, or
      2. an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in an event a minimum of 500 words.Each of the numerical limits stated in “i” and “ii” above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph.
    3. Illustration
      One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture per book or per issue.
    4. “Special” works
      Certain works in poetry, prose or in “Poetic prose” which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety. Paragraph “ii” above notwithstanding, such “special works” may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than 10% of the words found in the text therefore, may be reproduced.
  2. Spontaneity
    1. The copying is at the instanced and inspiration of the individual faculty member, 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 permission request.
  3. Cumulative Effect
    1. The copying of the material is for use in only one course in the institution for which the copies are made.
    2. Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
    3. There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term. (The limitations stated in “ii” above shall not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news section of other periodicals.)
  4. Prohibitions
    1. Copying shall not be used to create, replace, or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works. Such Replacement or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts there from are accumulated or are reproduced and used separately.
    2. There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be “consumable” in the course of study or of teaching. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets and like consumable material.
    3. Copying shall not
      • Substitute for the purchase of books, publisher’s reprints, or periodicals;
      • be directed by higher authority;
      • be repeated with respect to the same item by the same faculty member from term to term.
    4. No charge will be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.
    5. The Copy shall include the copyright notice which appears on the printed copy.
  5. Non-print Media
    1. Broadcast Programming
      1. Permissible Uses
        1. The guidelines set forth below were developed to apply only to off-air recording for educational purposes.
        2. A broadcast program may be recorded off-air spontaneously with broadcast transmission (including simultaneous cable transmission) and retained by a nonprofit educational institution for a period not to exceed the first forty-five (45) consecutive calendar days after a date of recording. Upon conclusion of such retention period, all off-air recordings must be erased or destroyed immediately. “Broadcast programs” are television programs transmitted by television stations for reception by the general public without charge.
        3. Off-air recordings may be used once by individual faculty members in the course of relevant teaching activities, and repeated once only when instructional reinforcement is necessary. In classrooms and similar places devoted to instruction within a single building, cluster, or campus, as well as in the homes of students receiving formalized home instruction, during the first ten (10) consecutive-school days in the forty-five (45) day calendar day retention period. “School days” are school session days not counting weekends, holidays, vacations, examination periods, or other scheduled interruptions within the forty five (45) calendar day retention period.
        4. Off-air recordings may be made only at the request of, and by, individual faculty members, and may not be regularly recorded in anticipation of requests. No broadcast program may be recorded off-air more than once at the request of the same faculty member, regardless of the number of times the program may be broadcast.
        5. A limited number of copies may be reproduced from each off-air recording to meet the legitimate needs of faculty members under these guidelines. Each such additional copy will be subject to all provisions governing the original recordings.
        6. After the first ten (10) consecutive school days, off-air recording may be used up to the end of the forty-five (45) calendar day retention period only for faculty member evaluation purposes, i.e., to determine whether or not to include the broadcast program in the teaching curriculum, and may not be used in the recording institution for student exhibition or any other non-evaluation purpose without authorization. Off-air recordings need not be used in their entirety, but the recorded program may not be altered from their original content. Off-air recordings may not be physically or electronically combined or merged to constitute teaching anthologies or compilations.
        7. All copies of off-air recordings must include the copyright notice on the broadcast program as recorded.

[1] These Guidelines are taken from, Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-For-Profit Educational Institutions With Respect to Books and Periodicals. H.R. Rep No. 1476, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 68 (1976).