If You Violate Copyright

Who's responsible?

According to the law, responsibility to avoid violating copyright rests primarily upon you, not the college. It is important therefore that you make a good-faith effort to understand the law and comply with it.

What if your good-faith efforts prove wrong?

The only way to know for sure that you've applied the law incorrectly would be a court ruling against you. It is reassuring to know, however, that college employees acting within the scope of their employment will not be held liable for the statutory damages of copyright infringement if they "reasonably believed and had reasonable grounds for believing that [their] use was fair use" (§504 c. 2, Copyright Act).

What if you are notified that you have violated copyright?

The responsibility to monitor copyright compliance rests with the copyright holder. If a copyright holder believes that you have violated copyright, that person or his/her lawyer will most likely send you a "cease and desist" letter. If you receive such a letter but do not wish to comply because you believe your use is justified under the law, please notify Lisa Richmond, x5101, Lisa.Richmond@wheaton.edu. In some cases, the college may choose to get legal advice.

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