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Policies and Procedures

9.52 Copyright-Protected Computer Materials

Duplication or unauthorized use of copyright-protected materials is illegal. UNI will not protect its community members from disciplinary or legal action in defense of the rights of intellectual work or property ownership.

Most computer software is protected by federal copyright law and may be covered by a license or contract. Generally, copyright law provides that computer software cannot be copied, shared, or used on more than one machine at a time, unless allowed by the applicable license agreement. Derivative works, authorizing others to duplicate copyright-protected material, distributing copies of copyrighted work to the public, and public performances or displays of copyrighted work are similarly subject to copyright laws and license agreements.

Unless prohibited by the applicable license agreement, a software owner may make a backup of the owner's software for archival purposes as long as only one working copy is used at a time and the backup is destroyed if the owner ceases to have rightful possession of the software. Similarly, a software owner generally may adapt software if the adapting is done as an essential step in the utilization of the software in conjunction with a machine, and the software is used in no other manner.

The Copyright Act permits "fair use" of copyrighted work, including the copying and use of small portions of programs for purposes of criticism, comments, teaching, private study, research, or scholarship. "Fair use" can be a difficult concept to measure. Questions concerning "fair use" should be brought to the attention of the Information Technology Services Security Office.

All members of the University of Northern Iowa community -- students, faculty, and staff -- are expected to abide by the law and comply with UNI's contractual obligations. Faculty, staff, and students should be aware that adequate planning for software costs is necessary when purchasing computer equipment.

Respect for a person's work and personal expression is especially critical in a computer environment because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced. UNI will not condone actions that infringe copyrights or violate property rights, including those rights applicable to computer software. Infringing a copyright or property right is similar to theft of property or ideas.

Portions of the above have been copied with authority from EDUCOM.

President's Bulletin, No. 141, 3/27/89