Division of Information Technology

Copyright Policy

Saint Peter’s University Copyright Policy

LAST UPDATED 11/06/2020



The copyright policy of Saint Peter’s University (hereinafter “SPU”) affirms its commitment to comply with United States law relating to copyright; to respect the property rights of authors and their assignees; to educate members of the campus community about copyright law; and to exercise vigorously the rights and responsibilities granted under this law. SPU is committed to helping members of the community comply with copyright laws by providing resources to help individuals make informed, careful, and situation-sensitive decisions about the lawful and fair use of work created by others.

What is copyright infringement?
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement. (Provided by US Dept. of Education)

Examples of Copyright Infringement:

  • Copying a movie digitally or to DVD to distribute or share with others
  • Downloading music from illegal sites
  • Ripping a CD and then making copies for friends or sharing the music via e-mail or
    over the network. Joining a file sharing network with the aim of illegally downloading
    and sharing music, movies, games and other media
  • Using applications such as AIM, Google Chat, Windows Live etc. to share digital
    music, movies and other media.


This policy applies to all who use computing resources, information technologies, networks, voice messaging equipment, computer software, data networking systems, including remote and wireless and electronically stored institutional data and messages owned or managed by SPU or any third parties contracting with SPU for the provision of hosting, network or other technology services, including SPU employees and independent contractors, students, adjunct faculty, guests and volunteers (hereinafter “Users“). Any person that has agreed to follow the SPU Acceptable Use Policy has, in effect, agreed to this Copyright Policy.


SPU expects Users to make a reasonable effort in good faith to comply with copyright laws in their use of copyrighted materials. SPU encourages Users to take full advantage of the “fair use” exception to the exclusive rights of copyright owners. Before relying on the fair
use exception, Users should educate themselves regarding the limits of fair use and should, in each instance, perform a careful, good faith fair use analysis based on the factors identified in Section 107 (https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107) of the federal Copyright Act. Faculty and staff are permitted to use and duplicate copyrighted materials of other parties for educational and classroom uses, provided such activities are within the fair use standard, 17 U. S. C. sect. 107. The fair use standard requires consideration and balancing by Users of the following factors to determine if duplication or use by a third party constitutes a fair use:

A. The Fair Use Factors

1. The Purpose and Character of the Use, Including Whether the Use is of a Commercial Nature or is For Nonprofit Educational Purposes.

  • A nonprofit or noncommercial use weighs in favor of a fair use. Nonprofit educational purposes, such as duplication for classroom purposes rather than commercial purposes, generally tend to support a finding of fair use.

2. Nature of the Copyrighted Work.

  • Is the work published or unpublished, fact or fiction? Published factual works, such as form books, dictionaries or other factual works, by their nature more readily support a finding of fair use than do unpublished works or non-factual, fictional, creative works.

3. Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used in Relation to the Copyrighted Work as a Whole.

  • If the portion of the work copied or used in relation to the entire work is quantitatively and qualitatively insignificant that supports a finding of fair use. No specific number of words or percentage copied of the work is set as being permissible. However, see the “safe harbor” guidelines discussed below. Copying of a minor portion of a work may be found to be other than a fair use if the portion constitutes the essence or critical part of the copied or used work.

4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

  • This factor is considered the most important element to be considered under the fair use analysis. Duplication or use of a copyrighted work that is not detrimental to and does not diminish the potential market for the work will support a finding of fair use.

B. Examples of Acts That Do Not Constitute Fair Use:

  1. Duplication of materials for profit.
  2. Duplication of material from published textbooks.
  3. Duplication of unpublished materials.
  4. Duplication of computer software for multiple use.
  5. Duplication of the same materials for classroom use term after term.

What are the DMCA Safe Harbor Provisions?

In 1998, Congress passed the On-Line Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) in an effort to protect service providers on the Internet from liability for the activities of its users. Codified as section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), this
new law exempts on-line service providers that meet the criteria set forth in the safe harbor provisions from claims of copyright infringement made against them that result from the conduct of their customers. These safe harbor provisions are designed to shelter service providers from the infringing activities of their customers. If a service provider qualifies for the safe harbor exemption, only the individual infringing customer are liable for monetary damages; the service provider’s network through which they engaged in the alleged activities is not liable.


Current technology allows your personal computer to duplicate and distribute copyrighted video images, audio recordings and other digital materials. Unfortunately, this makes it is easy for you to violate SPU policy and US copyright law. For this reason, you should know the use of popular and freely distributed file sharing programs such as uTorrent, BitTorrent, Ares Galaxy, eMule and many other programs to download copyrighted music and video material, in almost every case, places you in violation of SPU policy and US law.


The vast majority of all computer software is protected by copyright law. The exceptions to this rule are so few Users should assume that all software on SPU’s computer systems, on third party systems, or available through the Internet is protected by copyright, unless there is a clear indication to the contrary.

Simply stated, copyright laws allow a user of software to use the software, load it onto the hard drive of a computer, and retain the original disk as an archive copy. Users are not allowed to modify the software, make more copies of it, simultaneously use a single copy on both a home and a campus computer, or distribute the software through the Internet, unless the license agreement explicitly permits those activities.

Possessing software for which an individual does not own a license is a violation of the Copyright Act, and may subject both SPU and individual Users to sanctions as set forth in the Copyright Act. For all practical purposes, the fair use exception does not apply to operating system and application software.

In addition to application software and operating systems, federal copyright protection also extends to the data files (content) created for use with or by applications and operating systems (e.g., spreadsheets, databases, Quicktime video files, and scanned images). Unauthorized creation, copying and distribution of these materials are violations of the federal copyright statute, unless they can be construed as fair use.


Any violator of copyright laws or other published Guidelines will be considered in violation of SPU’s policies and procedures. For employees, this may be considered a violation of terms of employment (see Saint Peter’s University Employee Handbook, p. 57). For students and other members of the University community, this may include action under the University’s judicial processes. Computer access may be limited or terminated pending determination of these charges.

In addition, violators of copyright laws could be subject to felony charges in state or federal court, and may also be sued by the copyright holder in civil court. Such civil suits could subject the violator to liability for infringement with damages up to $100,000 per work.


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) states that any use of the SPU network, email system, or web sites to transfer copyrighted material including, but not limited to, software, text,images, audio and video is strictly prohibited. As indicated above, acts of piracy are violation of state and federal laws, and as such, may result in criminal charges. Suspected infringement of the DMCA should be reported to SPU’s CIO. Please see the SPU DMCA policy as Appendix A of this document.


Any issues or concerns related to the use of copyrights at SPU should be directed to Mike DeVarti, Chief Information Officer Office of Information Technology, 201-761-7828

Appendix A

Saint Peter’s University
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy

In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, P.L. 105-304 (“DMCA”), Saint Peter’s University has designated the following individual to receive and respond to reports of alleged copyright infringement on SPU’s website:

Mike DeVarti
Chief Information Officer
Office of Information Technology
Saint Peter’s University
The Jesuit University of New Jersey
2641 Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, New Jersey 07306
Email: mdevarti@saintpeters.edu
Telephone: (201) 761-7828

Division of Information Technology | University Operations & Services

The Act requires the complainant to include certain information as specified below:
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act specifies that all infringement claims must be in writing (either on paper or electronic mail) and must include the following elements:

  • A physical or electronic signature
  • Description of the work claimed to be infringed
  • Description of the allegedly infringing work and the location on the University’s web site
  • Contact information for the complaining party
  • A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner or law
  • A statement that the information contained in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.

For more information

For more information on United States Copyright Laws, see: https://www.copyright.gov/