Copyright Policy

Thomas College attempts to make a good faith, reasonable effort to comply with the spirit and intent of existing copyright law (Title 17 of the United States Code, on the Web at ).

Section 106 of Title 17 stipulates that copyright holders retain exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, derivation, public performance, and display. Under most circumstances, prior permission must be acquired before making any use of copyrighted material.

Fair Use

An exception to the copyright owner’s exclusive rights is “fair use.” Section 107 of Title 17 states:

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, 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 for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

College employees should weigh the four factors above to determine whether a contemplated use of copyrighted material constitutes fair use.

According to the first factor, material should be used for nonprofit educational purposes to qualify as a fair use. Included but unstated in the first factor are limitations on availability and duration of access, i.e., material should be available only to students of a particular class and only for a limited period of time (never more than one semester). Materials posted on the Web should be password protected.

According to the second factor, nonfiction or factual work is more likely to qualify for fair use than creative work.

According to the third factor, only a small portion of a work can be used to qualify for fair use. Individual journal articles are considered whole works and therefore do not generally qualify. On the other hand, if the weight of the other 3 factors tends strongly toward fair use, then a substantial part or a work or a whole work may be used.

According to the fourth factor, material which is sold for profit or which draws from potential sales of the original, does not qualify for fair use.


In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, since incorporated into Title 17, the College provides a contact person and a process for addressing claims of copyright infringement. The “designated agent” for claims of infringement is:

Christopher Rhoda
Thomas College
180 West River Road
Waterville, ME 04901
(207) 859-1124
[email protected]

Claimants should supply to the designated agent the following information (from Section 512 of Title 17):

(3) Elements of Notification.-

(A) To be effective under this subsection, a notification of claimed infringement must be a written communication provided to the designated agent of a service provider that includes substantially the following:

(i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

(ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.

(iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.

(iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.

(v) A statement that the complaining party has 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.

(vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Upon notification of a possible copyright violation, the designated agent will expeditiously remove the material in question and contact the employee responsible for its posting. If agreement cannot be reached between the designated agent and the employee, the matter will be brought before the Academic Computing Committee for resolution.

Material found to be in violation of copyright law, including the provisions of the fair use clause, will remain removed. If, however, material is found not to be in violation of copyright law, it may be reposted. The designated agent will be responsible for communicating with the claimant regarding the final disposition of the claim of copyright infringement.

The designated agent will keep a record of all claims of copyright violation. Employees who receive three complaints will be barred from use of the College network, in accordance with Section 512 of Title 17.

IMPORTANT: Even though the College may avoid liability for copyright violations under the safe harbor provision described above, individual employees remain liable for their misuse and are encouraged to use extreme caution when posting copyrighted materials without prior permission from the copyright holder.


Section 1201 of Title 17 stipulates that “technological measures” (e.g., password protection) set by copyright holders may not be circumvented for fair use purposes.


Section 1202 of Title 17 stipulates that copyright management information (CMI) must be retained and must accompany any use of a copyrighted work. CMI includes copyright notice information, often designated with the symbol ©. CMI also includes the name of the author or copyright owner, the title of the work, and the performers and writers credited on an audiovisual work. CMI may further include terms and conditions for use of the work, such as restrictive prohibitions printed in a book and “click on” contracts governing downloaded materials