Saint Francis University

Policy Title: Copyright Policy

Responsible Office: IT Services
Policy Officer: VP for Finance and Administration
|Faculty |Staff |Student

Approved By: President's Council

Approved Date: 4/27/2016

Effective Date: 4/27/2016

Category: Campus Use and Facilities


Recognizing the balance between fostering creativity and protecting ownership, Saint Francis University expects and requires all students, faculty, and staff to comply with applicable copyright laws and this policy. Saint Francis University students, faculty, and staff are expected to have a basic understanding of copyright law in order to ensure compliance with the law and this policy. 



Copyright Act: The Copyright Act is a federal law that provides protection in the United States for creative works (termed "original works of authorship") in the form of copyright. 

Copyright Infringement: Copyright infringement, which is a violation of the Copyright Act, generally occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed or made into a derivative work without the copyright owner's permission. 

Copyright General Subject Matter: Copyright protection arises in original works of authorship that are "fixed in any tangible medium of expression" (e.g., written or typed on paper, stored in a computer, recorded in an audio or video format, etc.). Works of authorship include the following categories: (1) literary works; (2) musical works, including any accompanying words; (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music; (4) pantomimes and choreographic works; (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works; (7) sound recordings; and (8) architectural works.


Discipline and Penalties

The unlawful reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material by students, faculty, and staff, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing or illegal downloading, are violations of this policy and are subject to sanctions and disciplinary action by the University including dismissal for faculty and staff and expulsion for students. The legal penalties for copyright infringement and violations of the Copyright Act include fines, payment of damages and profits, attorney fees, court costs, and jail time.

Legal Alternatives

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires an educational institution to offer legal alternatives to illegal downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted material. The institution must periodically review the legal alternatives for downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted material and make the results of the review available to its students through a web site or other means. To comply with this directive and to ensure Saint Francis University students and other constituents have access to the most current legal alternatives, Saint Francis University provides these links: The Educause compilation of Legal Sources of Online Content

For more information, please see the web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at

Related Policies:

Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
Computer Software Policy
Academic Honesty Policy

Ownership of Intellectual Property Policy