|Revised||March 2, 2011|
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- Copyright Requirements: Because electronic information is easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and copyright violations may be grounds for discipline or sanctions against users. All Blue Ridge Community College faculty, staff, and students must understand and abide by all copyright laws of the United States and must understand and follow the guidelines for fair use as defined in the statutes.
- Software Copyright Guidelines: Most software is licensed and/or copyrighted. Employees should consult the Blue Ridge Community College Help Desk regarding issues dealing with software licensing. Users shall not distribute copyrighted or proprietary material without the written consent of the copyright holder, nor violate copyright or patent laws concerning computer software documentation or other tangible assets.
- Where to Find Help with Copyright Issues: Guidelines to assist employees in complying with copyright law are available at the College Library, Digital Media Center, Print Shop, and on the Blue Ridge Community College Intranet. The guidelines do not attempt to provide legal advice, but only aid in identifying reasonable conduct in accordance with the principles of fair use. Because instructors must make individual decisions concerning use and reproduction of materials, each employee or student is responsible for adhering to copyright laws and for seeking appropriate legal advice when questions arise. Blue Ridge Community College assumes no liability for the presentation of the material in this section.
- Fair Use: Copyright law begins with the premise that the copyright owner has exclusive rights to many uses of a protected work, notably rights to reproduce, distribute, make derivative works, and publicly display or perform the work. Key statutes make specific allowances for concerns such as distance learning, backup copies of software, and some reproductions made by libraries. The best known and most important exception to owners’ rights is “fair use,” which is not itself an infringement of copyright. Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 cites four factors to be considered in determining fair use:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit, educational purposes.
- The nature of the copyrighted work (such as whether published or unpublished, fiction or nonfiction, commercial audiovisual or printed work, consumable or not consumable).
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. Both length (amount) of the excerpt and how important the excerpt is to summarizing the creative essence of the work are important.
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
A court of law may use any or all of these factors to determine whether the fair use law has been violated, and there is no formula that will always apply. Examples of court deliberations and conclusions are available from many sources, several of which are listed on the Blue Ridge Community College Web site, Intranet, and available at the Blue Ridge Community College library. Fair use guidelines provide a framework in which to test the application of images, recordings, videotapes, films, published printed materials, and other audiovisual material that may be used in the instructional setting in higher education. Links to these guidelines are found in the Handbook.
- Intellectual Property: Intellectual property means any product of the human intellect that is unique or novel and has some value in the marketplace. Intellectual Property may be protected under applicable federal or state law, including copyrightable works, ideas, discoveries, and inventions. The College encourages the development, writing, invention, and production of intellectual property designed to enhance the educational process, and to improve the productivity and image of the College.
- Works for Hire: Works for hire are forms of “intellectual property” ownership under the federal Copyright Act, as amended. Works for hire include works prepared by employees within the scope of their employment or works that have been specifically ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work. Works for hire include works created through direct and significant allocation of institutional resources to a specified project or work created under a contractual agreement.
- Examples of Works That Can Be Copyrighted: Intellectual and creative works that can be copyrighted or patented, such as literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, computer software, multimedia presentations, course material (traditional, distance learning, or online courses, inventions, etc., are deemed “intellectual property.”
- Ownership of Intellectual Property: In general, a Blue Ridge Community College employee or student owns all rights to copyrightable or patentable independent works created by that employee or student without College support. Unless otherwise provided by formal agreement, the College owns all rights to a copyrightable or patentable work created by an employee with College support and resources. More specifically, the ownership of a copyright or patent resulting from the development of intellectual property, and any rewards or recognition attributed to the copyright or patent, will be determined according to the following conditions:
Ownership resides with the employee or student if the following criteria are met:
- The work is the result of individual initiative, not requested by the College.
- The work is not the product of a specific contract or assignment made as a result of employment with the College.
- The work is not prepared within the scope of the individual’s College duties.
- The work involves insignificant use of College facilities, time, or other resources and is not derivative of any other College-owned copyright.
Ownership resides with the College if the above criteria are not met or if the following criteria apply:
- The work is prepared within the scope of an employee’s job duties.
- The work is the product of a specific contract or assignment made in the course of the employee’s employment with the College.
- The development of the work involved significant facilities, time, or other resources of the College including, but not limited to, release time, grant funds, College personnel, salary supplement, leave with pay, equipment, resources in amount and kind over and above those customarily provided to the employee, or other materials or financial assistance, or is derivative of any other College-owned copyright. Occasional use of office or classroom space, libraries, or general computer resources will not typically constitute significant use of resources.
Disputes among students or employees regarding ownership are addressed in subsection “P” below.
- Portfolio Rights: Notwithstanding these provisions, a student retains portfolio rights to works created by the student as a class assignment or as part of a pro-bono commission approved as a student project by an instructor. A pro-bono commission is work that an instructor may approve for students to undertake as a skill-building opportunity. Students may receive token payments provided by the person or group that commissions such a work.
- Promotional Materials: In the area of fine arts, the College may elect to retain one student piece per course to include in its permanent collection. The College also retains the right to use any student work in promotional materials produced by the College or its designee. Student work may include artwork, written material, musical composition, video, digital media, or web page design.
- Agreements: The College may enter into an agreement with either the employee or the student for an equitable arrangement for joint ownership, sharing of royalties, or reimbursement to the College for its costs and support. If it is foreseen that commercially valuable property will be created, the affected parties should negotiate an agreement for ownership and the sharing of benefits prior to creation of the property. In all such cases, such agreement shall provide that the College will have a perpetual license to use the work without compensation to the employee or student. In the absence of such an agreement, the provisions of ownership stated above shall apply.
- Release Time and Grants: If an employee is granted full or partial leave with pay (e.g., release time or educational leave) to write, develop, produce, or invent intellectual property, the employee and the College will share in any financial gain, and the college's share will be negotiated prior to the time the leave is taken. In cases where a grant is accepted by the College, the ownership provisions of the grant shall prevail.
- Lab Notes: Student class notes or lab notes may only be used for personal educational purposes. Publication of such notes may not be made without the express written permission of the instructor of record for that course.
- Virtual Learning Community: Individuals employed or commissioned by Blue Ridge Community College are required to adhere to the NCCCS Intellectual Property Policy for the Virtual Learning Community (VLC), as applicable to the use of VLC core courses and core materials.
- Disciplinary Action: Individuals are responsible and liable for their own actions in the creation, use, and distribution of intellectual property. Violations of this policy may also result in disciplinary action by the College including expulsion from the College and/or termination of employment.
- Dispute Resolution of Ownership: Prior to creating works using College resources, employees and students should direct intellectual property ownership questions to the CIO.
- Employees - If issues related to ownership of intellectual property arise and cannot be resolved informally, College employees may seek resolution through the Employee Due Process Procedure (Sec. 3.12.1).
- Students - If issues related to ownership of intellectual property arise and cannot be resolved informally, College students may seek resolution through the Student Grievance and Due Process Procedure (Sec. 4.16.1).
- Copyright and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Requirements
Peer-to-peer (P2P) A method of distributing files over a network where all computers are treated as equals (in contrast to a client/server architecture). Using P2P software, a client can receive files from another client. Some P2P file distribution systems require a centralized database of available file (Napster, while other distribution systems are decentralized. These networks can be used to illegally share copyrighted material like movies and music. They can also be used in a positive way to allow users to share files and resources without the need for a centralized server.
H.R. 4137, The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) is designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. Blue Ridge Community College will comply with HEOA in the following manner:
Blue Ridge Community College views awareness as a very important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted materials. The Division of General Administration uses a wide variety of methods to inform the faculty, staff, and students of the law and the response of Blue Ridge Community College to copyright infringement.
- All members of the Blue Ridge Community College community must comply with the Computer Use Policy that includes a section on copyright compliance and P2P file sharing.
- Blue Ridge Community College includes the computer use policy in our Student Handbook and Catalog, Faculty Handbook, Policies and Procedures Manual, and the College Web page.
- Notices of acceptable computer use and compliance with copyright laws are posted in student computer labs and elsewhere to discourage illegal file sharing.
- The Division of General Administration support staff, including student workers, are regularly trained on College policies regarding copyright issues.
- Periodically, all employees and students will receive an e-mail regarding copyright infringement and related issues.
College Plan to Combat the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material
The College monitors bandwidth use on its computer networks. Internet usage as well as the downloading of files is heavily monitored and logged. Any infraction of the peer-to-peer policy will be assessed and reviewed to determine if a violation of copyright material has occurred. Users who violate stated policies in the College Computer Use Policy (8.1.3) will be subject to the consequences defined in the Student Misconduct Policy (4.15.1) or the Employee Disciplinary Action Policy (3.10.1) and to federal authorities responsible for copyright violations. Penalties for repeat offenders will result in loss of network access, and could result in fines, suspension, expulsion, or termination.
Offering Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing
Educause, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology, maintains a comprehensive list of Legal Downloading Resources (http://www.educause.edu). Blue Ridge Community College encourages members of the campus community to take advantage of these legitimate sources of digital content.
Periodic Review of Plan and Assessment Criteria
- The Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Student Services will do an annual review of the number and severity of illegal file sharing violations during the past year. They will determine if changes in disciplinary procedures or educational materials are needed.
- Information Technology staff, under the direction of the Chief Information Officer, will review technical deterrents annually to determine if these deterrents remain effective in limiting undesirable traffic.
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