Intellectual Property Rights Information

You may not copy or use any software, images, music, or other intellectual property (such as books or videos) unless you have the legal right to do so.

Educational institutions are not exempt from the laws covering copyrights. The software, images, music, and files available for use on computers and networks at Western Seminary are protected by federal copyright laws. In addition, software, images, music, and files normally are protected by a license agreement between the purchaser and the software seller. It is a Seminary policy to respect federal copyright and license protections.

  • Software and information resources provided through the Seminary for use by students, faculty, and staff may be used on computing equipment only as specified in the various software licenses. It is against Seminary policy for you to copy or reproduce any licensed software on Seminary computing equipment, except as expressly permitted by the software license.
  • You may not use unauthorized copies of software on Seminary-owned computers or on personal computers used in Seminary facilities.

Unauthorized use of software, images, music, or files is regarded as a serious matter and any such use is without the consent of Western Seminary. If abuse of computer software, images, music, or files occurs, those responsible for such abuse will be held legally accountable.

Offenses against this policy will be handled as outlined in the Academic Integrity policy when it is an incidence of plagiarism. If a student is found to be violating intellectual property rights in another manner such as illegal downloads on a campus computer or network, then the matter will be referred to the Standard of Character and Conduct policies.

Fair Use of Copyright

What is “Fair Use”?

Fair use, as outlined in Section 107 of the Copyright Act, recognizes that certain uses of protected works, such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, can, under certain circumstances, be extremely beneficial for society. A use that qualifies as “fair use” is allowed under the law, even though such use would normally be considered copyright infringement.

How Do I Know If My Intended Purpose is “Fair”?

Fair use is a legal defense that may protect a wide range of uses in many different situations. To determine if a particular use of a work might qualify as fair use, the following factors must be considered:

  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.

These factors provide the framework for a fair use analysis, but no one factor is determinative—not all educational use is fair use, and not all commercial use precludes fair use. Each case must be considered individually. There are no easy rules on just how much of a work you can use before it is no longer considered “fair”, but through the years as courts have developed the doctrine of fair use, certain activities have tended to fall on the side of “fair”. These activities include quoting excerpts of a work for criticism, using limited parts of a work to create a parody of the original work, or reproducing short amounts of a work for scholarly purposes.

In general, students should strive to use only the amount of a work needed to accomplish their purpose, and use the material in a way that transforms or adds something new, to the original work. A fair use checklist, such as this one hosted by the ALA, is a helpful tool for determining a fair use case.