Web Copyright Policy

The copyright law applies to all media: books, articles, music, songs, emails, and computer code. The media are constantly changing as people invent new forms of expression.

1. Copyright Law

Policies governing the making and displaying of copies of works, whether in paper or in electronic media, are based on the provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 of the United States. For original works fixed in a tangible medium of expression, the law holds that the creator of the material, or the copyright holder to whom the copyright has been conveyed, has the exclusive right to authorize reproductions, derivative works, distribution, and public performance.
Note: Facts cannot be copyrighted, only their fixed expression in a tangible medium. If you are going to copy something from another website, read it, then write your own expression of the facts!

2. Fair Use

The Fair Use exemption from the exclusive rights detailed above states that "...such use by reproduction in copies...for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market or value of the copyrighted work.
Note: Making one copy for your own personal use is generally considered to be fair use under this portion of the law.

3. Posting Material on the Open Web

In order to protect the College from the risk of lawsuits due to copyright infringement, material posted on College, or College-affiliated websites must either have copyright permission, be in the public domain, or be a good case for fair use.
Note: While using copyrighted material in class presentations may fall under fair use, and putting recordings of those presentations on a course website would probably continue to hold this exemption, putting presentations up on YouTube or similar sites may require additional restraint. One power point slide from a published article would probably be fine, but more would require permission from the copyright owner.

4. Posting Material on Class Websites

Please see the Hampshire College Electronic Reserve Policy for information.

5. Who holds the copyright?

  • Student work: Students hold the copyright for all original academic work, in whatever medium. Even if they give the library permission to make a copy of their Division III for interlibrary loan, they continue to hold the copyright for their work.
  • Faculty work: Faculty members hold the copyright for all original academic work, unless they have assigned it to publishers in the course of publication. Work written for governance committees and other institutional service is usually considered to be under the copyright of the Trustees of Hampshire College. Work on student evaluations falls under FERPA, the Federal Educational Records Privacy Act.
  • Staff work: Work by staff and administrators written in the performance of their duties falls under the copyright of the Trustees of Hampshire College. Work for hire done by consultants and photographers usually falls under the copyright of the Trustees of Hampshire College, but is specified in their individual contracts.
  • Published work: Historically, published work is copyrighted by the publisher, although more recently negotiated licenses may reserve more rights to the author. Creative Commons licenses grant copyright permission in certain circumstances, typically for scholarly but not commercial use.

6. Permission Forms

Click here to download a pdf of each form:

7. Sources for Non-Copyrighted Material

One strategy for putting material on the open web would be to use non-copyrighted material. Here are some ideas for these:

8. More information about Copyright

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