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Expanded Copyright (self-paced course)

Self-paced course for faculty and staff to learn the aspects of copyright law that affect higher education. It's intense - if you want something lighter, please go to the Intro to Copyright videos on Learnscape.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a piece of legislation dating back to 1998, that attempts to bring online copyright practices in line with the protections for copyright owners that are automatic in the physical medium. 

There are three aspects of the DMCA that are particularly relevant to SUNY Empire.

  • The Safe Harbor Provision, which protects internet service providers (like SUNY Empire) from being liable for the copyright infringments of their subscribers (faculty, staff, students) as long as SUNY Emipre complies with the DMCA. 
  • The Anti-Circumvention Provision, which makes it illegal to bypass copy protection and access protection on copyrighted content, even if the end result would have been legal
  • The Takedown process, in which a copyright owner or their agent alerts SUNY Empire's copyright officer that a specific piece of their content is being infringed on a particular web page or course page, and the college immediately and without investigation takes it down. There is also an appeal process, which will be explained later.

So, to sum up, SUNY Empire has to enforce the Anti-Circumvention rules and the Take-down process, or else the institution becomes liable for any infringement committed by any faculty, staff, or student. Since accidental infringement happens all the time and there are also occasional deliberate infringements, the cumulative result would be ruinous if we did not take advantage of the Safe Harbor. 

Under the DMCA, the individual is both civilly and criminally liable for infringements. That means you can be sued by the copyright owner, and incur fines and jail time as well. At least the Take-down process gives you a chance to correct an infringement promptly in order to avoid those consequences.