Use of Copyrighted Materials for Educational and Research Purposes (I.A.3)

Volume I: Academic and Research Affairs
Chapter A: Education and Research
Responsible Executive: Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Responsible Office: University Copyright Office
Date Issued: January 1, 2015
Date Last Revised: N/A


Statement of Policy 
Reason for This Policy
Individuals and Entities Affected by This Policy
Definitions (defined terms are capitalized throughout the document)
Related Documents, Forms and Tools
Website Address for This Policy
History and Updates





Email/Web Address

Policy Clarification

Director, University Copyright Office



Purdue University holds that the creation, discovery and dissemination of knowledge are central to the success of the University’s mission. The University and its stakeholders share an interest both in the protection of copyrighted works and in the use of copyrighted works in the daily pursuit of learning, discovery and engagement.

University faculty and staff using copyrighted materials are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable copyright law, including making an initial good faith determination as to whether or not the desired use is within one of the exceptions to the copyright law. The University does not assume legal responsibility for any independent application of copyright principles made by University faculty or staff that are not in good faith or that do not otherwise comply with this policy or the guidance provided by or determinations made by the University Copyright Office. Permissions must be obtained in all instances where the employee determines in good faith that the desired use falls outside of applicable copyright law exceptions or other applicable limitations on the rights of copyright owners.

Students are expected, within the context of the Regulations Governing Student Conduct and other applicable University policies, to act responsibly and ethically by applying the appropriate exception under the Copyright Act to the use of copyrighted works in their activities and studies. The University does not assume legal responsibility for violations of copyright law by students who are not employees of the University. Students who are employees of the University and who are acting within the scope of their employment are subject to all provisions of this policy relating to faculty and staff.

The University does not endorse guidelines developed by private parties and independent groups on the appropriate use of copyrighted works, but instead looks to the law as the standard to which one must adhere in using such copyrighted works in any activity, including those related to advancing the University’s mission of learning, discovery and engagement.


Protection of copyrighted works is provided by the laws of the United States and international treaties and conventions. Copyright protection applies to original works of authorship that are fixed in any tangible medium of expression. Both published and unpublished works in any medium generate protection from the time of creation. Software code is a copyrightable work.

Copyright owners are granted exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public display, public performance and the preparation of derivative works. However, these rights are not unlimited in scope. Certain provisions of the Copyright Act establish limitations on these rights so that the public can use copyrighted works for specific purposes.

University faculty, staff and students using copyrighted works must understand and apply the exceptions and limitations of the Copyright Act. The appropriate use of copyrighted works reduces both institutional and individual legal risk and is critical for academic integrity.


All colleges, schools, departments, organizational units, faculty, staff, students and anyone using University IT resources to store, broadcast or disseminate educational or research material are affected by this policy.




University Copyright Office

  • Administer and interpret this policy.
  • Provide guidance to faculty, staff and students on the appropriate interpretation and application of copyright laws and on related compliance issues.
  • Implement education and awareness programs.
  • Coordinate Digital Millennium Copyright Act activities.
  • Determine appropriate uses of copyrighted works in the event of a dispute.
  • In coordination with the Office of Legal Counsel, advise the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost and other University units on copyright issues, as well as on case law and statutory changes likely to have a material impact on the University and higher education.

University Faculty, Staff and Students

  • Make a good faith determination that proposed use of a copyrighted work is in compliance with applicable copyright laws.
  • Notify the University Copyright Office if there is a dispute relating to the use or proposed use of copyrighted materials.
  • Consult with the University Copyright Office when in doubt on the application of copyright laws.
  • Obtain permission from the copyright holder when the use exceeds the exceptions provided by the Copyright Act or when such use is not in compliance with the applicable copyright laws.


All defined terms are capitalized throughout the document. Additional defined terms may be found in the central Policy Glossary.

Copyright Act
Copyright law of the United States, referred to as the Copyright Act of 1976, and its amendments codified under USC Title 17.


Intellectual Property Policy (I.A.I):

IT Resource Acceptable Use (VII.A.2):

Policy on Research Misconduct (III.A.2):

Regulations Governing Student Conduct:

  • Fort Wayne:
  • Northwest:
  • West Lafayette:

U.S. Copyright Office library of copyright law:



January 1, 2015: This policy has been updated and reformatted into the current policy template. It supersedes Executive Memorandum No. B-53, (July 10, 2000, November 1, 1977).


There are no appendices to this policy.

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