Copyright at Babson

The information presented here is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

Copyright protects the rights of the creators of original content once it has been fixed in a tangible form. Content may be published or unpublished. Copyright gives owners the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, publish, perform, and/or display their work. It also gives them the right to authorize any of the preceding to another entity.

Copyright law limits the right of a user to copy, edit, or transmit electronically another's intellectual property without permission.  This includes written materials, images, sounds, music, and performances, even in an educational context.  In most cases the licenses for our electronic services restrict redistribution of electronic material, even for educational purposes.

Downloading or distributing copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owner is a violation of the College’s Computer Code of Ethics/ Acceptable Use of Campus Network and Computing Systems Policy

Violations of the Computer Code of Ethics/ Acceptable Use of Campus Network and Computing Systems may result in the suspension or termination of campus computer network privileges and other disciplinary actions.

The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials, including peer-to-peer file sharing, may also subject you to civil and criminal penalties.

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.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQs at

Fair use and other relevant copyright law provisions are the essential means by which teachers teach, students learn, and researchers advance knowledge. The Copyright Act of 1976 defines intellectual property principles in a way that is independent of the form of publication or distribution. These provisions apply to all formats and are essential to modern library and information services. The fair use guidelines define the limited copying that is allowed under the U.S. copyright law without the permission of the owner.

Educators have an obligation to educate students about their rights and responsibilities under intellectual property law.

Material created for use in the classroom may or may not be suitable for presentations at conferences. While it may be appropriate to demonstrate at a conference program, be sure to have copyright permission for anything that is distributed or posted for conference attendees. 

Some of the resources that faculty wish to use with students fall outside the provisions of fair use. The educational rules do not apply in the commercial marketplace. For instance, some library resources are available to students and faculty for academic research only, and may not be used for internships, mentor, MCFE projects or other commercial use, although they may be consulted as background information. See the sections on specific formats for any of your questions.

Students may use portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works in their academic projects, with proper credit and citations. They may retain them in personal portfolios as examples of their academic work. This includes the right to integrate various materials into computer/sound/visual programs if the resultant product remains the property of the student, is not placed into the school's collection and no copies are sold, broadcast, transmitted, or performed outside the classroom.

Students must include on the opening screen of their programs and on any printed materials that their presentation has been prepared under fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and are restricted from further use. Be sure to refer to the fair use guidelines. Seek permission where there are any questions.

Some of the resources that students wish to use fall outside the provisions of fair use. See the sections on specific formats for any of your questions.

Copyright is probably NOT an issue when dealing with: 

  • Your own lecture notes
  • Your own course syllabi/reading lists
  • The problem sets you’ve developed for your courses
  • The tests you’ve created for your courses
  • Publications of the US Government
  • Published works for which copyright has expired or does not apply, i.e. works in the Public Domain


The information presented here is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.