SEU Copyright Guidelines

These guidelines are written to help Faculty decide if they need to obtain copyright permission prior to using a work, and will be revised as needed.  If you have already obtained permission to use or distribute copyrighted material, then you are likely already complying with the law.

This document contains:

  1. An Overview
  2. A List of Quick questions & answers
  3. Copyright Laws & their implications
  4. A Quick use checklist for online materials
  5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  6. Common Use Cases that cover both traditional and online use of materials
  7. Copyright References & Resources

I. Overview

What is copyright?
In Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution it states that:

The Congress shall have the power…To promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

Pursuant to this, Congress has enacted a number of Laws to further define and refine the set of author privileges collectively known hereafter as “copyright” privileges, or simply copyright.  This document will describe relevant law as it applies to typical higher education usage along with summaries and guidelines to help explain the law in the context of higher education.

What do I need to know about copyright?
As defined in the Technology and Information Policy, you are responsible for appropriate use of copyrighted material within the bounds of what is allowed under US Copyright statutes.  This policy applies to all use of copyrighted material at St. Edwards University, including but not limited to computing resources (such as Blackboard), as well as campus service areas (such as the Library, Copy Center, Bookstore, and Faculty Resource Center). 

What is the penalty for a copyright violation?

  • $150,000 per willful act of infringement
  • Applies to everyone involved, from institution to faculty and support staff

What is my role and what are the roles and responsibilities of the university?
These roles and responsibilities are described in the Technology and Information Policy at:

How will I know that I’m operating within what copyright law allows?

How can I protect myself and my students from risk of litigation as a result of copyright infringement?

These questions are not easily answered, and the subject of copyright is complex. Legislation and the court cases that shape their application are often difficult to interpret for diverse instructional settings.  Therefore, Faculty may need help in understanding the advantages and restrictions of the US Copyright Statutes.  This FAQ, it’s Use Scenarios and External Resources are designed to provide a framework to help interpret and apply these guidelines to copyrighted materials for use in SEU classes.  While SEU’s Information and Technology policy provides a statement of SEU’s copyright policy, these resources are an attempt to further educate and inform the community about practical copyright issues.


Revision Changes Date Published
Version 1.0 - Original Issue
PDF version
  Feb 17, 2006

*Note:  This document is meant to provide general information about copyright, and is not a substitute for legal advice.  Consult a licensed attorney for specific legal questions.