Copyright and Fair Use

Luther Copyright Policy

Luther College “strive(s) to be a community where students, faculty, and staff are enlivened and transformed by encounters with one another, by the exchange of ideas, and by the life of faith and learning.” The free exchange of ideas, information, and knowledge is a cornerstone upon which our society is built, and Luther is committed to supporting copyright of intellectual property as a means to enable the ongoing sharing of ideas, information and knowledge. We support, encourage, and empower our community to make their creative and intellectual work available to the world through open access to foster collaboration and knowledge-building. As a community, we also work to respect the intellectual property ownership rights of others as we teach and learn. Luther is committed to informing our community members of their rights and responsibilities under United States Copyright Law, and providing the tools to allow our faculty, students, and staff to make educated decisions regarding their license and use of copyrighted works.

  1. Policy
  2. Scope
  3. Terms and Definitions
  4. Procedures and Guidelines
    1. Ownership of Creative Works
      1. Exception #1: Rights Specified by Contract
      2. Exception #2: Commissioned Works
      3. Exception #3: Administrative Works
    2. Use of Copyrighted Works
    3. Violation of Copyright
    4. Administration of Policies
    5. Additional Policies
  5. Confidentiality and Record

I. Policy

This policy outlines Luther College’s commitment to adhering to the provisions of the United States Copyright Law (Title 17, United States Code).

II. Scope

This policy applies to all members of the Luther community, including faculty, students, staff, and any individuals using intellectual property owned by Luther College, or using Luther-owned equipment for the creation or duplication of copyrighted materials.

III. Terms and Definitions

Copyright is a form of legal protection for authors of original creative works (published and unpublished), including literary, musical, dramatic, artistic and other intellectual products. The copyright holder, who may or may not be the creator, possesses the exclusive right to authorize reproduction of a work; distribute copies of the work; prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work; and publicly perform or display the work. Violating the rights of copyright holders, or directing others to do so, is illegal.

IV. Procedures and Guidelines

Ownership of Creative Works

Members of the Luther community who create original intellectual property in the course of their scholarly or pedagogical work have legal rights to protect their intellectual property from unlawful use of others. Intellectual property takes many forms, and includes but is not limited to monographs, essays, poems, articles, musical compositions, bibliographies, art, photography, films, dramatic productions, presentations, performances, sound recordings, and scientific processes. Luther encourages community members to be liberal in making their creative work available for others to use, and encourages open access to creative works where appropriate. Ownership of intellectual property by faculty, students, and staff of Luther College will remain with the creator of that property unless voluntarily relinquished or assigned to another by agreement, or the property falls under one of three exceptions noted below.

Exception #1: Rights Specified by Contract
In some cases, intellectual property rights may be predetermined by involved parties as a condition of the work. This includes work funded by outside agencies or organizations, works created in collaboration between Luther College and members of the Luther community, or works created in collaboration with multiple members of the community. Such arrangements might include collaborative research among faculty, or faculty and students. In these cases, the terms of the contractual agreement shall supersede all other College policies. Such agreements shall be signed by all parties involved. In areas of collaborative creation of intellectual property, Luther encourages agreements covering ownership of that property to be negotiated and executed prior to the commencement of work.

Exception #2: Commissioned Works
In all cases, Luther College will retain full intellectual property ownership over commissioned works or works generated as required work product regardless of the relationship of the commissioned to the College. Examples of commissioned works include musical compositions, computer software code, articles and essays to be published by the College as part of official College publications, and other special College publications.

Exception #3: Administrative Works
In all cases, Luther College will retain full intellectual property ownership over works created in the normal course of administration by its employees (whether that employee is a member of the faculty, staff, or a student). Examples of administrative work include notes, policies, reports, internal studies, assessments, and records created in the normal course of administrative business.

Use of Copyrighted Works

Members of the College community who use copyrighted works in educational, research and or/other activities affiliated with the College must obtain written permission or license for the use of each work from the owner of the copyright. Obtaining written permission to use copyrighted material for reproduction is the responsibility of the academic or administrative department or individual. A copy of the Copyright Act may be obtained via the internet at All legal liability for the use or misuse of copyrighted material is vested in the individual using the material. Luther College will not be responsible for misuse of intellectual property by faculty, students, and staff who fail to follow College policy and United States Copyright Law.

The College encourages all community members to use copyrighted materials under “fair use” provisions as outlined in Section 107 of the Copyright Act. “Fair use” limits certain rights for copyright holders, particularly in an educational setting. Luther makes available via its Copyright website tools for the community to evaluate their use of copyrighted works to determine if they fall under fair use. It is the responsibility of individual community members to be aware of “fair use” and to determine whether or not their use of copyright materials is legal under “fair use” provisions of the Copyright Act.

Violation of Copyright Policies or Laws

Upon legal notification of copyright infringement, Luther College will act to notify individuals with control over the content in order to remove or disable infringing content (in physical or virtual form). The College may impose penalties such as revocation of network credentials allowing access to College systems, networks, servers, or other equipment used to publish, distribute, or copy intellectual property. Additionally, employees and students who violate copyright law in the course of their work are subject to disciplinary action according to existing disciplinary polices and procedures.

Luther College will not provide legal advice or defense regarding copyright infringement claims against members of the Luther community.

Administration of Copyright Policy

Policies regarding copyright and intellectual property are approved by the Luther College Board of Regents. Officers of the College are responsible for ensuring that all College functions and operations adhere to Luther policies regarding copyright and intellectual property.

The registered Copyright Agent for the College is the Executive Director of Information and Technology Services, who will receive copyright infringement notices, maintain oversight of general policy, and recommend evolution in policy to the Officers and Board of Regents of Luther College.

Additional Policies

In addition to the Luther College Copyright Policy, other operating units of the College involved in the creation, use, access, publication, or duplication of copyrighted materials may have supporting policies governing the boundaries and limitations of their services. Links to these policies are included here:

  • Bookshop
  • Document Center
  • Information and Technology Services

V. Confidentiality and Record

The Office of the Executive Director of Information and Technology Services is responsible for maintaining records relating to copyright for Luther College. Historical records will be filed with the College Archives.