Copyright and higher education share the common goals of the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of society. Colleges are both enthusiastic creators and voracious consumers of copyrighted material. Faculty create copyrighted material through their many publications, such as journal articles and textbooks. Students, too, create copyrighted materials through their research papers, artwork, and musical compositions. The symbiotic relationship of education and copyright is nurtured by the law, where the copyright statutes of the United States provide privileges to educational institutions and libraries for the use and distribution of copyrighted materials.
Despite copyright's long history and pervasive influence, it is rarely an area of firm answers and clear lines. With the continuing transition to, and expansion of, digital resources, new questions continually arise regarding the appropriate and allowable use of copyrighted material in both print and digital forms. Copyright is dynamic and its jurisprudence continues to evolve. Even now, the United States Congress is currently considering what may be significant changes to the copyright law, including the treatment of digital material and the fair use doctrine.
This web site is intended to answer some of the questions and concerns surrounding the use of copyrighted material by faculty, staff, and students at Fort Lewis College. It is not intended to serve as legal advice, and should not be taken as such