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Copyright Resources: Download

Information...not Advice

The information on this site should NOT be considered legal advice.  The author is a librarian, not a lawyer, and this LibGuide is intended as just that: a guide.  If you are unsure of whether or not something is legal, please talk to an attorney.

Help! I Need Somebody...

If you are concerned about an issue related to course content on Moodle or ERes at Kenyon, please contact one of the reference librarians.  We have resources to help you determine if your use is fair or if we need to get permission.

Read more information and submit a form request here on the Course Readings Page


If the site has the word "Pirate" in the title, that's a clue

We've all heard of the legal woes of the music downloader.  Individuals are liable for content they download, if the source from which they get it is not reputable.

You must have a reasonable belief that the site you're on is legal, and has the right to post the content.

This includes academic articles and papers!  If you point students to a copy of an article which was posted illegally, you may responsible for contributory infringement.  

So, how do we figure out what sites are ok?  There are several techniques you can use.  You can evaluate the source as if it were a research source, using questions like these, or you can check several lists of legal online content.

At the very least, the title of this section is a good place to start.

Kenyon's Library and Computer Use Policy

In the Library and Computer Use Policy published by LBIS, there are a few tenets which directly address intellectual property and use of the Internet at Kenyon. I have excerpted the relevant passages below (though you should certainly read the whole thing!)

Rights of Members of the Kenyon Electronic Community

  1. Fair and reasonable access. Open access to information is a precondition to one's personal and professional development and sense of community at Kenyon. Access to information, however, must be qualified by other people's right to privacy and their intellectual property rights.
  2. Ownership and acknowledgment of intellectual works. Members have ownership rights over their own intellectual works. Kenyon seeks to create the kind of environment in which its members may feel free to create and collaborate with peers without fear that the products of their intellectual efforts will be violated.

Responsibilities of Members of the Kenyon Electronic Community

4. Respect for the intellectual work of others. Since electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, members are expected to honor the work of others by strict adherence to software licensing agreements and copyright laws.

But, as we all know, being in violation of Kenyon's policy is just one part of it. If you're guilty of copyright infringement there are legal consequences.  Now might be a good time to review the types of copyright infringement.

Type of Infringement

There are three types of infrigement.  Again, according to Bonner et al,

"Direct infringement occurs when someone violates any of the exclustive rights of the copyright owner," in other words, you are guilty of direct infringement if you and you alone did the infringeing.  

"Vicarious infringement occurs when one has the right to control the infringement of another or profits from the infringement."  For example, if your website sells t-shirts, and you earn a portion of the profit from each t-shirt, you might be liable for vicarious infringement if one of the designs infringes on copyright.  You have the power to stop it by not selling the t-shirt, and you earn a profit as a result of the infringement.

"Contributory infringement occurs when a person has knowledge of infringeing activity and/or induces, causes or contributes to infringeing conduct" (11).  Contributory infringement might occur if say, you point your students to a link on the Internet that you know is illegal.  You might not have distributed the illegal copies, but you encouraged them to commit copyright infringement by visiting the illegal site.


This LibGuide is a work in progress.  Have suggestions?  See something you don't understand?  Please contact LBIS.