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Policy on Copyright and Fair Use

Policy Category: Executive

Effective Date: 9/13/2023

Responsible Officer: Director of Compliance and Risk Management

History: Legal and Copyright Compliance Notice; Privacy Statement, 2016

Responsible Office: Office of the General Counsel

Location: Link


This policy is intended to provide guidance to the Wentworth Institute of Technology (the university) regarding and relating to questions and procedures on copyright in both the library and in the classroom, and to assist the university in ensuring that all applicable laws and regulations governing copyright are followed.


This policy applies to all members of the Wentworth community, students, employees, vendors, visitors, and volunteers affiliated with this policy.



This policy covers all intellectual property both accessible and usable at the university. This policy is intended to encourage the fair use of copyrighted material in research, teaching, learning, and scholarship within the boundaries of currently accepted law.

Wentworth Institute of Technology complies with the United States Copyright Act of 1976 as amended, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, and the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002. All reproduction or use of copyrighted materials must comply with the provisions of the law. This includes following the guidelines provided related to items in print and electronic documents, software, databases, multimedia and audiovisual materials, photographs, music, dramatic works, sculpture and other creative works.

The university prohibits the duplication, distribution or use of materials by students, faculty and staff of any copyrighted material not covered by the limited exception “fair use” doctrine and guidelines or the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002, specific exemptions in the copyright law or licenses and agreements, or written permissions from copyright holders, including those specifically granted to educators in the classroom. See Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101.


Copyright: A type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression. Copyright is a set of protections afforded to the author of an original work. In the United States, copyright arises from Article I, §8 of the United States Constitution, which allows Congress "[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." The specific laws governing copyright are found primarily in 17 U.S.C. §101ff., as well as court rulings that interpret this legislation. Reference:

Fair Use: Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. It allows for limited use of copyrighted material in certain circumstances. It involves consideration of four factors, as outlined in 17 U.S.C. §107 and expanded upon in the various court cases that have applied and interpreted the law. Determining whether a use is fair (and therefore not infringing) must be done on a case-by-case basis dependent on the particular facts. To get a definitive answer about whether something is a fair use requires resolution in a federal court, but in most cases, you can rely on best practices and checklists that apply the four factors to a known set of facts. Reference:

Digital Preservation: Digital preservation combines policies, strategies and actions to ensure the accurate rendering of authenticated content over time, regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change. Digital preservation applies to both born digital and reformatted content. Digital preservation policies document an organization’s commitment to preserve digital content for future use; specify file formats to be preserved and the level of preservation to be provided; and ensure compliance with standards and best practices for responsible stewardship of digital information. Digital preservation strategies and actions address content creation, integrity and maintenance. Reference: "Definitions of Digital Preservation," 2008.


General Information

The Schumann Library does not oversee personal scanning of documents in its space. Users of information technology are expected to comply with official copyright laws as stated by the publisher of the documents being used; individuals are responsible for adhering to the copyright rules of publishers and platforms. You cannot seek permission from the Schumann Library for use of copyrighted materials beyond what is stated by the publisher. All students, staff, faculty, and departments are responsible for the printing of their own materials. Anything scanned for instructional purposes must fall in line with digital accessibility guidelines as spelled out in the associated policy. Please visit the Library Services Desk for printing assistance. While using a copyrighted work without permission for educational purposes is often acceptable, educational use is no guarantee.  If you want to use the work of other authors, you may need permission from the copyright holder. Materials posted to the internet, either publicly or on the Institute’s LMS, must adhere to the copyright policy of the publishers, and must also adhere to current digital accessibility policy.

Interlibrary Loan Procedure 

The university has established procedures regarding interlibrary loan from and to other libraries for the purposes of information sharing and research. For a full outline of our procedures on interlibrary loan, please refer to the Interlibrary Loan Policy.  

Digital Collections Rights Statement

The purpose of this statement is to help the public understand how items in digital preservation may be used. Regarding the digital preservation of documents and ephemera created by faculty, students, and staff of Wentworth, all items are digitized upon request from the user, for the purpose of preserving, promoting, and fostering work of the Wentworth community.  

Requests for digital preservation can be made by filling out this form.

Digital Collections Rights Statement 

The Wentworth Institute of Technology Archive 

Upon copyright transfer, all items become the permanent property of Wentworth Institute of Technology University Archives and are to be used in preserving and presenting the history of Wentworth Institute of Technology. For more information, please see our policy on Record Management.  

Reporting Complaints

Wentworth has a designated agent to receive all complaints regarding infringement of copyrights on Wentworth Institute of Technology web sites under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This person is: 

Brian Burns   
Director of Compliance and Risk Management   
Wentworth Institute of Technology   
550 Huntington Avenue – Williston 308   
Boston, Massachusetts 02115   
(617) 989-4413   
(617) 989-4168 (fax) 

The DMCA requires that all infringement claims must be in writing and must include the following information: 

  1. A physical or electronic signature of the copyright owner or the person authorized to act on its behalf; 
  2. A description of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed; 
  3. A description of the infringing material and information reasonably sufficient to permit Wentworth to locate the material; 
  4. Your contact information, including your address, telephone number, and email; 
  5. A statement by you that you have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and 
  6. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that you are authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner. 

Additional Information and Related Documents

Interpretation & Revision

Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy shall be referred to the Director of the Library. They will be the final authority regarding the interpretation of this policy. 

This policy shall be reviewed every three years, however minor changes and updates can be made at any time.  

Wentworth will typically apply the policy in place at the time it receives a report concerning the respected policy. 

Additionally, in instances where two or more policies are implicated, a case-by-case determination will be made to determine what policy will be used. 

Review and Revision History

This policy was drafted by representatives from the Library and Compliance and Risk Management. It was reviewed by Cabinet and approved by the President on 9/13/2023. 

It replaces the Legal and Copyright Compliance Notice; Privacy Statement, 2016