Intellectual Property

Nine Supporting Principles for the Wesleyan University Policy on Fair Use of Copyrighted Works for Education and Research

Principle 1: An appropriate exercise of fair use depends on a case-by-case application and balancing of four factors as set forth in a statute enacted by Congress: the purpose or character of the use; the nature of the copyrighted work being used; the amount and substantiality of the work being used; and the effect of the use on the market for or the value of the original.

Principle 2: Nonprofit educational purposes are generally favored in the application of the four factors, and a robust concept of fair use is crucial for advancing education and research.

Principle 3: Responsible decision making means that individuals within the university should know the fundamentals of fair use and understand how to apply them in typical situations.

Principle 4: The university is confident that as a result of our commitment to continued educational programs on intellectual property principles with practical applications, its faculty, staff, librarians, and students will make good-faith decisions about fair use, and that their decisions will best reflect the particular circumstances relevant to the decision.

Principle 5: Reasonable people  -- including judges and legislators -- can and will differ in their understanding of fair use.

Principle 6: Because of the flexible and interpretive nature of fair use, Congress provided significant protection for educators.

Principle 7: Through educational efforts, the university should move over time toward common understandings of fair use for local needs, but such detailed interpretations ought not be part of a formal policy statement.

Principle 8: Fair use is not determined by "guidelines" that purport to quantify the boundaries of fair use. Externally developed guidelines are often inappropriate for the realistic application of fair use to higher education and for educational institutions. They are often an unduly narrow or rigid definition of fair use, and they usually impose additional restrictions and conditions that are not part of the law. Fair use must be determined according to the circumstances of each situation, taking into account the unique burdens, missions, and responsibilities of the academy.

Principle 9: If an employee of the Wesleyan community acts in good faith and consistent with his or her university duties and the terms and the spirit of university policy, the Wesleyan indemnification policy can offer protection in the event of an infringement allegation.

All members of the Wesleyan University community and their guests and visitors should do their best to comply with current copyright laws, policies, and reasonable guidelines.  This Web site is meant to help facilitate fair sharing of resources.  The creators of this site, while acting in good faith, are not legal experts.  The use of this site should not substitute for legal advice.