Copyright Policy

Copyright Policy


Office of Academic Affairs


Office of the Provost, Lisa D'Adamo-Weinstein, Ph.D., Dean of Academic and Instructional Services


Information Security and Technology



Effective Date:


Implementation History:

Replaces original policy dated 07/17/2000 as amended 03/05/2007; amended for compliance 7/2018


Copyright; Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA); Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act

Background Information:

The university as a provider of access to web and internet services is required to have a copyright policy that indicates its compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In so doing the University qualifies for the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions which protect the university from liability if faculty, staff or students commit copyright infringement while on the university network or equipment. A copyright policy indicating compliance with the DMCA is also one of the necessary preconditions for the University to allow its faculty and staff to take advantage of the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act.


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance and a framework for administration, faculty, staff and students in creating, licensing and making use of copyrighted materials. This Copyright Policy must function harmoniously with the Computer Use Statement Policy, the Commons policy and the Web Presence and Publishing Policy.


Academic copyrighted content: learning objects of any kind, regardless of granularity and regardless of whether they are intended for or used in courses.

Copyrighted content: a work of original authorship that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

Administrative copyrighted content: copyrighted content published in university publications or made available on university or university-affiliated web sites -- which is created incidentally to the functions of the university. Administrative content does not include personal expression or materials created or used for teaching, learning or research.

Takedown request: any request received by the University Copyright Officer in writing or by email from an owner of copyrighted work or their designated agent claiming there is reason to believe their copyrighted content is being infringed upon.


This copyright policy is intended to support and promote the university’s academic mission by fostering the open and free exchange of information and opinions. It is informed by the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University Professors:

“Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free expression.”

The Vice President for Information Technology Services is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office as the University’s Copyright Officer. The Vice President or their designee has the authority and responsibility to enforce this policy, originate and promulgate procedures and develop training materials and documents to support compliance with this policy.

Empire State University faculty, staff and students must comply with all provisions of United States Copyright Law. Empire State University faculty, staff and students living and working in other countries must also comply with the copyright laws of those countries but shall not violate U.S. copyright law even if local law permits it. Empire State University faculty, staff and students shall be familiar with copyright topics including Fair Use, which are posted on the University’s Copyright Information Resource Center web page. All faculty, staff and students must comply with Federal copyright laws. Illegal (that is, not covered under an exemption or a license) copying, distribution and remixing of copyrighted materials, including peer-to-peer file sharing of infringing materials, is prohibited and may be subject to civil and criminal liabilities. Students found in violation of Federal copyright laws, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing are subject to the student conduct process. Any disciplinary action assigned to an employee shall be taken pursuant to the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Empire State University is compliant with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Takedown requests should be routed to the University’s Copyright Officer, whose identification and contact information are provided on the College’s Reporting Copyright Infringement page.The University’s Copyright Officer will follow the takedown procedure outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – US Copyright Law, Chapter 5, section 512(c)(3). The University’s Copyright Officer will notify the individual responsible for the content that the takedown has taken place, and inform them of their rights regarding counter-notice and putback procedures, which are outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – US Copyright Law, Chapter 5, section 512(g). For more information about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s requirements and DMCA takedown proceedings, refer to the DMCA page of the University’s Copyright Information Web Site.

Empire State University is compliant with all institutional requirements of the TEACH Act. Faculty and Staff are required to comply with all restrictions and requirements set forth in The TEACH Act – US Copyright Law, Chapter 1, section 110(2) - and within these restrictions and requirements faculty and staff are encouraged to take advantage of its allowances. Faculty, staff and students are to avail themselves of copyright informational and educational resources provided for them.

As stated in The State University of New York Policies of the Board of Trustees, “generally the members of the staff of the university shall retain all rights to copyright and publish written works produced by them.  However, in cases where persons are employed or directed within the scope of their employment to produce specific work subject to copyright, the university shall have the right to publish such work without copyright or to copyright it in its own name.  The copyright will also be subject to any contractual arrangements by the university for work in the course of which the writing was done.  Staff members will be expected not to allow the privilege to write and retain the right to their work to interfere with their university duties.  In those cases where an author desires the help of university facilities, arrangements should be made through the administrative staff of the author’s institution in advance with respect to the assistance which may be appropriately given and the equity of the university in the finished work.” 

The Vice President of the University’s Office of Community and Government Relations is empowered to grant licenses for the use of non-academic content that is the intellectual property of the University. Decisions regarding the licensing of University intellectual property shall be made in consultation with key stakeholders and take into consideration applicable laws, regulations and policies of SUNY and the University.   

All copyrighted content created by students for their courses or studies is the intellectual property of the students who create it and neither the instructor, the course developer nor the University has any claim to it.

Faculty, staff and students may license their own copyrighted content under Creative Commons licenses. Faculty and staff may request permission in writing from their supervisor to release particular works for hire under Creative Commons licenses. For more information about types of open content, what uses may be made of open content under what conditions, and how one can license one’s own work as open content (i.e., with a Creative Commons license) see the Open Content page of the University’s Copyright Information Web Site.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

US Code Title 17 - Copyright -

Regulations of the State University of New York Board of Trustees  - Title J - Patents, Inventions and Copyright Policy -

SUNY’s Academic Freedom Policy - Part 335, Appointment of Employees, Title I - Academic Freedom - § 335.27 Academic freedom:

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

SUNY Empire Copyright Information Resource Center -

Reporting Copyright Infringement -

TEACH Act Compliance –

Licensing a work under the Creative Commons – 

Empire State University Computer Use Statement Policy-Students -

Empire State University Computer Use Statement Policy-Faculty and Staff-