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Copyright Policies and Guidelines


The purpose of this copyright guide is to:

  • Provide a summary of U.S. Copyright law as it relates to an institution of higher education 
  • Inform St. Clair County Community College faculty, staff, and students of their rights and responsibilities in the use and/or creation of copyrighted materials
  • Set consistent guidelines and provide tools for St. Clair County Community College faculty, staff, and students in the proper and lawful use of copyrighted material.

Copyright Law: Strictly Defined

While SC4 lies near an international border & serves an international College community, St. Clair County Community College is an insitution governed by United States copyright law, and the contents & recommendations of this guide only address that context.

Copyright law, as defined in Title 17 of the United States Code, protects "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression" for a limited period. Copyright protection includes, for instance, the legal right to publish and sell literary, artistic, or musical work, and copyright protects authors, publishers and producers, and the public.  Copyright applies both to traditional media (books, records, etc.) and to digital media (electronic journals, web sites, etc.). Copyright protects the following eight categories of works:

  1. literary works
  2. musical works
  3. dramatic works
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works
  5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  7. sound recordings
  8. architectural works

Ownership of a copyrighted work includes the right to control the use of that work. Use of such work by others during the term of the copyright requires either permission from the author or reliance on the doctrine of fair use. Failure to do one or the other will expose the user to a claim of copyright infringement for which the law provides remedies including payment of money damages to the copyright owner.

Library Resources Related to Copyright

Forms and Downloads

Related Research Guides


This guide was originally authored by Kendra Lake for SC4 Library; edited and updated 2/2021 by Hayley Bommarito

Have a copyright question?

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Jane Lewandoski
Phone (810) 989-5640
Text (810) 515-7343