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USP Copyright Policy

The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia expects that all the members of its community will adhere to the United States Copyright Act (Title 17 United States Code) and the related acts which further define the proper use of copyrighted materials.

All members of the University should familiarize themselves with the copyright law and its fair use provisions. Faculty, staff, or students who face litigation over copyright infringement should not assume that the University will defend them or be responsible for judgements. Excellent online materials are available to learn about copyright:

In some circumstances, it is allowable for educators to reproduce copyrighted materials without permission:

  • if the material is licensed, as are most electronic materials, and the license allows for it
  • if the material is used in online education, such as an online course, and the provisions of the TEACH Act are followed
  • if the materials fall under the fair use limitations on owners' exclusive rights as contained in the U.S. Copyright Act
  • if the materials fall under certain other limitations on owners' exclusive rights as contained in the U.S. Copyright Act
  • if the materials are a work of the U.S. government
  • if the materials are otherwise in the public domain

Scope of Copyright Protection

The Copyright Act gives the copyright owner the exclusive right to distribute, alter, perform, or display the work. Copyright protects the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. Similarly, facts do not receive copyright protection, although the selection and arrangement of facts are copyrightable. Thus, a student does not infringe copyright when he or she copies facts or ideas from a published source, so long as he or she doesn’t copy that source’s expression. However, failing to attribute the source of these facts or ideas may be plagiarism, and may violate the University’s code of conduct.


Electronic materials, such as software or access to subscription products online, are often governed by a license. The license may be more or less restrictive than the fair use provisions of the copyright law. For example, the USP Library has negotiated license agreements with the vendors of the electronic journals it subscribes to that allow the posting of their articles behind a password as both Blackboard and ERes provide.Similarly, videocassettes and DVD's may be purchased (as USP's Learning Resource Center does) with "public performance rights" that allow for showing the works outside the classroom or to other than enrolled students.


The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) creates a framework for the use of copyrighted works in online education.USP policy is to follow the TEACH Act for online courses.

A checklist developed by North Carolina State University to follow the TEACH Act's provisions should be followed when posting copyrighted materials for an online course.

For more about the TEACH Act, see these discussions from the University of Texas and the North Carolina State University.

Fair Use

The United States Copyright Act gives the owners of a copyright the exclusive right to reproduce copies of the work, in addition to other rights. However, in some circumstances, this exclusive right is limited. According to the U.S. Copyright Office,

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

2. the nature of the copyrighted work;

3. 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.

These four factors are not clear-cut, and there are conflicting court decisions on their specific application. For further discussion on the concept of "fair use," see the U.S. Copyright Office flier on fair use, the University of Texas' discussion, or the examples from the Georgia University System.

Fair Use Guidelines

Various groups have compiled guidelines based on numerical limits. None of these guidelines are legally binding, and many copyright scholars feel that they are too restrictive. However, use of copyrighted materials within these set guidelines may be thought of as a "safe harbor": the guidelines have been agreed upon by various interest groups, including publishers, as non-infringing.

Multiple Copies of Printed Materials for Classroom Use

Guidelines for Educational Use of Music

Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Media

Guidelines for Off-Air Recording of Broadcasts


Other Limitations on Owners' Exclusive Rights

The Copyright Act places several other limitations (See 17 U.S.C. §§108-122) on the exclusive rights of owners.Of particular interest in higher education are these:

  • Libraries are specifically given rights to make a limited number copies and to provide photocopiers for their users. See 17 U.S.C. § 108.
  • Instructors or students may perform or display legally acquired copyrighted work in a classroom setting, to enrolled students, as part of a class session. See 17 U.S.C. § 110 for more details.
  • Under the “first sale doctrine,” the lawful owner of a copy of a work may sell it or lend it without infringing the distribution right. See 17 U.S.C. § 109.

    This policy provides only general information concerning the copyright law and does not constitute legal advice.


Appendix 1: USP Software Policy Statement
Appendix 2: USP Library Reserve
Appendix 3: USP Learning Resource Center
Appendix 4: USP Web Site
Appendix 5: USP Publications
Appendix 6: Permissions Purchased by USP

Appendix 1: Software Policy Statement (Employee Handbook, II.10.7)

Computer programs are protected by copyright law—Section 117 of the 1976 Copyright Act, as amended in 1980, governing the use of software. It is the intent of the Philadelphia University of Pharmacy and Science [sic] to adhere to the provisions of copyright laws in the area of computer software. It is also the intent of the University to comply with the license agreements and/or policy statements contained in software packages used in the University. In circumstances where interpretation of the copyright law is ambiguous, the University shall look to the applicable license agreement to determine appropriate use of the software.

Any use or reproduction of copyrighted materials will be done with the written permission of the copyright holder; otherwise, the individual responsible for use or reproduction may be liable for infringing the copyright under existing laws. In the case of a court action for damages for a finding of willful infringement, the University will not pay any judgment rendered against a faculty member, staff member, or student or pay any attorney's fees or costs which the said individual incurs in conjunction with a lawsuit, and may render the said individual liable to the University for any damages which the University is liable to pay.

Appendix 2: USP Library Reserves

Original items. Printed, video, and audio materials legally obtained by the University or by the requesting individual may be placed on reserve. Exceptions to these include workbooks and other items intended to be consumable.

Copies. Following the principles of fair use, photocopies of single articles or single chapters made from copyrighted journals or books owned by the University or by the requesting individual may be placed on reserve. All photocopies must have a statement of copyright. Larger selections from the works, or from materials not owned by the University or the requesting individual, may be placed on reserve only if the copyright holder grants permission. Copies of audio or video materials may not be placed on reserve without the permission of the copyright holder.

Electronic reserve. Digitized materials may be placed on electronic reserve following the TEACH Act guidelines. Licensed electronic materials may be placed on electronic reserve if their licensing allows (electronic journals subscribed to by the Library allow electronic reserve).

Appendix 3: USP Learning Resources Center

The Learning Resource Center abides by the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Media, as endorsed by the Consortium of College and University Media Centers, except as the guidelines for online education have been superseded by the TEACH Act

The Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Media place limitations of the total amount of content that may be copied and how long the content may be used. However, by following the guidelines, the LRC is unlikely to face copyright infringement liability.

Examples of limitations:

  • text materials: 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less
  • motion media: up to 10%, or 3 minutes, whichever is less
  • music: up to 10% or 30 seconds, whichever is less
  • time limitations: for faculty, 2 years after first instructional use
Under the TEACH Act, materials may be digitized if they cannot be purchased in digital format, but there are stricter limitations on time.

Appendix 4: USP Web Site

The USP Policies and Standards for Creating Web Pages states:

Material that is illegal or used in violation of copyright laws is prohibited on the University website.

Questions regarding the interpretation, implementation and enforcement of the Policies and Standards for Creating Web Pages should be directed to the University Web Manager. She will inform the maintainer of a page of the problem in question. If a resolution can not be made, according to the USP Policies and Standards for Creating Web Pages:

A committee of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Executive Affairs, Associate Vice President for Information Technology, Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Director of Library and Information Services will make final policy interpretations.

Guidance concerning copyrighted images on the USP web site:

USP Images:

The University Relations Department at USP maintains a gallery of approved photographs that may be used on the USP web site. These photographs are the property of USP, who owns the copyright to them. These photographs may be used only on official USP web pages or with the permission of University Relations. They may not be modified, re-sized, cropped or otherwise changed without the permission of University Relations and the assistance of the USP Web Manager or Photographer. Note: these photographs have been optimized for viewing on the Web ONLY. They are NOT appropriate for use in printed publications.

Non-USP Images:

Licensed Images:
USP owns licenses for Microsoft Office software installed on University owned computers. As a licensee of Microsoft Office, users may use Microsoft Clip Art and Media which is a collection of clip art and other images such as line drawings, photographs, background images, buttons, and ruled lines that may be used in print or on the web by USP faculty, students, and staff.

There are many image galleries available on the World Wide Web. Some of these galleries maintain the copyright of their images, but allow users to use their images under a license agreement. Example: Original Free Clipart and their license. In most instances, there is no fee to use images under this license. Users must abide by the requirements of the license, though.

Non-licensed images in the Public Domain:
There are many web sites with galleries and libraries of "free" images available for the taking. These sites claim that the images are free of copyright restrictions and may be used. It is difficult, though, to determine if these graphics are truly in the public domain, and free of copyright restrictions, or if they are copyrighted by another entity.
The best way to find graphics that are truly in the public domain is to:

  • Look for sites where the graphics are "original". This means that the author(s) of the site created the graphics.
  • Avoid large secondary sources such as "clip art galleries" where the images have been collected from many other sources. As a general rule, the farther away you are from the creator, the more risk you run that a graphic labeled "copyright free" may not be.
  • Download files from sites that have a clear "conditions of use" statement. Look to see if the page owner requires that an image be only used for non-commercial purposes, or if they require a link back to his page for using the graphics. Abide by all requirements.

Images that are ‘Red Flags’ and usually have copyright restrictions

  • Company logos
  • Cartoon characters
  • Photographs from news sources
  • Images that have a copyright sign © embedded on them or a copyright watermark

Guidance Concerning Copyrighted Written Content:

USP Written Content
All written content on official USP web pages is copyrighted by the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, and may not be used without permission. Note: on personal faculty pages or course web pages, the copyright holder may be the individual.

Some written content has been created for USP by outside consultants. The copyright of this content remains with USP unless other arrangements have been made with the vendor.

Non-USP Written Content

Users must be careful when using written content from other sources. At a minimum, proper attribution must be made when quoting other sources or using their ideas. You should make proper attribution, and if available, provide a hyperlink to the source.

When using significant portions of written content from an outside source, copyright restrictions may apply. In these cases, you must obtain written permission from the author before placing the content on the USP site.

Content that is a ‘Red Flag’ and usually has copyright restrictions:

  • Newspaper and Magazine articles
  • Journal articles (Note: the electronic journals subscribed to by the USP Library are restricted to the use of USP students, faculty, and staff and can be placed on the public web only behind a password)

If Copyrighted Materials Are Found on the USP Website

USP's Agent for Notice of claims of copyright or other intellectual property infringement can be reached as follows:

By mail: Amy Christopher, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, 600 S. 43rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
By phone: 215-596-8730
By fax: 215-596-8760
By e-mail:

Appendix 5: USP Publications: in progress

Appendix 6: Permissions Purchased by USP


Members of the USP community may perform music copyrighted by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). These rights are purchased annually by the Student Affairs Office. In addition, ASCAP permission extends to the performance of music on the University's website (see the ASCAP Database of Musical Titles ). Note that these rights pertain only to the live or recorded performances of USP musicians.


July 12, 2004





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