Copyright Infringement Policy

The purpose of the Meredith Manor International Equestrian Copyright Compliance Policy is to provide a summary of U.S. copyright law as it relates to the use of text-based copyright-protected works in the classroom and, and to provide guidelines and procedures for obtaining copyright permission to use these works. U.S. Copyright law contains many gray areas, and the goal of this policy is to provide administrators, faculty, students, employees, and others with a standard approach for addressing complex copyright issues. This policy covers classroom issues such as photocopying. This policy provides practical advice and procedures on copyright-related matters; however, it is not a substitute for legal advice, and proper legal advice should be obtained when necessary.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is an area of law that provides creators and distributors of creative works with an incentive to share their works by granting them the right to be compensated when others use those works in certain ways. Specific rights are granted to the creators of creative works in the U.S. Copyright Act (title 17, U.S. Code). If you are not a copyright holder for a particular work, as determined by the law, you must ordinarily obtain copyright permission prior to reusing or reproducing that work. However, there are some specific exceptions in the Copyright Act for certain academic uses, and permission is never required for certain other actions, such as reading or borrowing original literary works or photographs from a library collection.

What is Protected by Copyright?

The rights granted by the Copyright Act are intended to benefit "authors" of "original works of authorship", including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural and audiovisual creations. This means that virtually any creative work that you may come across—including books, magazines, journals, newsletters, maps, charts, photographs, graphic materials, and other printed materials; unpublished materials, such as analysts' and consultants' reports; and non-print materials, including electronic content, computer programs and other software, sound recordings, motion pictures, video files, sculptures, and other artistic works—is almost certainly protected by copyright. Among the exclusive rights granted to those "authors" are the rights to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and publicly display their works.

These rights provide copyright holders control over the use of their creations and an ability to benefit, monetarily and otherwise, from the use of their works. Copyright also protects the right to "make a derivative work," such as a movie from a book; the right to include a work in a collective work, such as publishing an article in a book or journal; and the rights of attribution and integrity for "authors" of certain works of visual art. Copyright law does not protect ideas, data or facts.

In the U.S., the general rule of copyright duration for a work created on or after January 1, 1978 is the author's life plus 70 years after the author's death. This is often referred to as "life-plus-70". Works created by companies or other types of organizations generally have a copyright term of 95 years. For more information on copyright duration, visit http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf.

Fair Use

Under the fair use provision, a reproduction of someone else's copyright-protected work is likely to be considered fair if it is used for one of the following purposes: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research. If the reproduction is for one of these purposes, a determination as to whether the reproduction is fair use must be made based upon four factors:

  1. The purpose and character of use (principally, whether for commercial or nonprofit educational use)
  2. The nature of the copyright-protected work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used
  4. The effect of the use being evaluated upon the potential market for or value of the copyright-protected work

Fair use is an ambiguous concept and the law does not state exactly what uses of a copyrighted work will be considered fair uses under the law and may therefore be used without obtaining permission. As such, individuals who are not lawyers may often need to be interpreters of the law in everyday circumstances, and answers as to how much reproduction may be considered fair use often remain unclear. The bottom line is that fair use requires a very circumstance-specific analysis as to whether a particular use or reuse of a work may indeed be considered fair use.

To avoid confusion and minimize the risk of copyright infringement, Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre interprets the following situations as fair use:

  • Quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work for illustration or clarification of the author's observations.
  • Reproduction of material for classroom use where the reproduction is unexpected and spontaneous – for example, where an article in the morning's paper is directly relevant to that day's class topic. This would generally cover one time use in only one semester.
  • Use in a parody of short portions of the work itself.
  • A summary of an address or article, which may include quotations of short passages of the copyright-protected work.

If your use does not meet the above criteria and the work is protected by copyright, you probably need to obtain permission to use the work from the copyright holder or its agent.

Types of Use

Classroom handouts fall into two categories; one that requires permission and one that does not. If the handout is a new work for which you could not reasonably be expected to obtain permission in a timely manner and the decision to use the work was spontaneous, you may use that work without obtaining permission. However, if the handout is planned in advance, repeated from semester to semester, or involves works that have existed long enough that one could reasonably be expected to obtain copyright permission in advance; you must obtain copyright permission to use the work.

How to Obtain Copyright Permission

Permission to use copyright-protected materials, when required, should be obtained prior to using those materials. It is best to obtain permission in writing (including e-mail).

The time to obtain permission may vary and, where possible, it is recommended to start the permissions procedure at least six months prior to the time that you wish to use the materials. If you need a quicker permission, let the copyright owner know this and he/she may be able to get back to you more quickly.

Once you have identified the materials you want to use and determined that copyright permission is required, you must locate the copyright holder. If the copyright holder is not listed on the work, locating the appropriate person or entity to grant permission may take some investigative and creative work.

  • Information in your Permission Request
  • The copyright holder or its agent will require the following information in order to provide you with permission:
  • Title of the material
  • Creator/author of the material
  • Publisher of the material
  • Description of material
  • ISBN or ISSN, if applicable
  • Date of publication, if applicable
  • Purpose for which you wish to reproduce the item (research, commercial, educational, etc.)
  • How the material is to be reproduced (e.g., photocopied, digitized)
  • Where the reproduced material will be used or will appear and for how long

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, especially their FAQ's at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.

It is the policy of Meredith Manor to comply with all copyright laws. All faculty, staff, and students are expected to be aware of and follow these requirements. Any member of the campus community practicing unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may be subject to sanctions by the School up to dismissal from school or termination of employment. Individuals could also be subject to Federal criminal offenses for copyright law violations.

Legal Alternatives

A list of sites for legal downloading can be found at http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent


If you are serious about the horse industry then MM is the place to go!! Loads of hard work that pays off in the end!
Stephanie Wittek: 1996 Riding Master Graduate