It is the policy of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine to comply with the
U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. All PCOM faculty, staff, students are expected to act
as responsible users of the copyrighted works of others which includes making informed
decisions based on the fair use exemptions to the copyright laws.
U.S. laws protect the rights of individuals regarding their own works. The penalties
for violation of copyright law can range from college sanctions to civil and criminal
prosecution. Persons who copy and distribute copyrighted material without legal permission
may be found liable for civil or criminal copyright infringement. Civil penalties
for federal copyright infringement provide for significant financial compensation
for damages such as $150,000 for each willful act. Criminal penalties can be up to
five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. The College cannot protect students, faculty
or staff from a copyright complaint, and the college may also be required by law to
disclose information to a complainant for use in pursuing legal action. Copyright
infringement may also result in college-imposed sanctions for misconduct.
Federal copyright law protects “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible
medium,” which includes works of literature, music, drama, film, sculpture, visual
art, architecture, and other creative media. (Title 17, U.S. Code, Section 101.) Most
works published after 1923 (except those authored by the U.S. Government) should be
presumed to be copyright protected, unless there is information or notice from the
copyright holder that the work is in the public domain Works published prior to March
1, 1989, generally require a copyright notice to be protected, but those published
on or after March 1, 1989 are not required for copyright protection. Copyright Office Circular 22 explains how to determine the copyright status of a work.
The doctrine of "Fair Use" (section 107 of the U.S. copyright law) in limited situations
permits the use of a copyrighted work, including reproducing portions of that work,
without the copyright owner's permission. Section 107 of the Copyright Act establishes
four basic factors to be examined in determining whether a use constitutes a "Fair
Use" under the copyright law. These factors are:
- 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;
- The amount and substantiality of the portion of the work used in relation to the copyrighted
work as a whole; and
- The effect of the use in question upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted
No factor is determinative of a person's right to use a copyrighted work without permission.
Educational use alone is not sufficient to make the use in question a fair one. Photocopies
or other reproductions can be furnished only under certain conditions, if they will
be used solely for private individual study, scholarship, or research. Use of the
reproduction for other purposes may make the user liable for copyright infringement.
PCOM reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying request, if, in its judgment,
fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. (17 U.S.C. 207,
and under title 17 of the U.S. Code as amended by Pub. Law 94-553: 108, 702. Dated
August 9, 1977).
Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
The College has implemented measures within the PCOM information system that prevent
the use of Peer to Peer file sharing applications on all campus network computers.
However, students should be aware of the implications and risks of using such applications
on personal computers.
Copying or distributing copyrighted media such as songs, movies, software, video games,
text and pictures, without authorization from the copyright owner may constitute copyright
infringement. The Copyright owner has the right to control, within certain limits,
how their works are published, distributed, and sold, and the correlative right to
be paid for the use of a work. A number of copyright infringement lawsuits and subpoenas
have been filed by major companies and their respective industry associations, including
the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Pictures Association
of America (MPAA) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). Federal copyright law entitles the copyright holders to seek statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each
act of willful infringement (for example, each song or movie illegally copied or distributed).
Alternatives to Illegal Downloading
Below are lists of sites that offer free or inexpensive products that can be used
as alternatives to illegal downloading:
The rights of an individual in regard to his or her own oral presentations, visual
productions, computer programs, graphics, etc. must be honored. Faculty, fellow students,
and other presenters are under no obligation to permit the recording or duplication
of their presentations or academic material. Video cameras are not permitted in any
classroom or lab without the expressed written consent of the campus Dean’s Office
and the instructor.