3-16: Intellectual Property and Copyright – Policy

Associated Procedures

  • Intellectual Property and Copyright – Procedures
  • Policy Overview

    This policy governs the creation and use of intellectual property at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College), including that which is protected under copyright, trademark, and patents.

    Scope and Applicability

    This policy applies to all SFCC employees, students, and others involved in the creation, production, and use of intellectual property at SFCC.

    Policy Statement

    A. The College supports an atmosphere that fosters innovation, progressive instruction, creative expression and the free exchange of ideas. Employees are encouraged to publish and copyright, invent and patent materials and objects of their own creation that will contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

    B. Creation of Intellectual Property

    1. In the pursuit of academic endeavors and academic freedom, SFCC holds that the creation, discovery and dissemination of knowledge are central to the success of the mission of the College and to society as a whole.
    2. Faculty, staff and students who create intellectual property in academic endeavors are the sole owners of said property, unless a specific contract is entered into between the creator and the College before the work is begun.
    3. Intellectual property created for the administrative functions of the College is the property of the College, unless a specific contract is entered into between the creator and the College before the work is begun.
    4. Faculty and staff, at their discretion, may enter into specific contracts, with the College, for work outside their regular employment agreements with the College.
    5. Ownership of intellectual property created by contractors and partners who are not regular College employees will be specified in their contractual agreements.

    C. Use of Intellectual Property

    1. Santa Fe Community College is committed to full compliance with all copyright and patent laws and takes reasonable steps to respect the property rights of authors, inventors, developers, and creators of protected material.
    2. It is the responsibility of all members of the SFCC community to comply with all copyright laws.


    1. Academic endeavors are undertakings in the pursuit, creation, and expression of knowledge and understanding, regardless of format. These include, but are not limited to, teaching, teaching methods, learning, researching, accessing and sharing information, publishing, and participating in professional activities. It does not include activities that are generally considered part of the administrative functions of the College.

    2. Administrative functions are those that support the operations of the College. Examples include, but are not limited to, producing marketing and promotional materials, writing computer code and applications, developing training materials, producing procedure manuals, writing policy, and all products of College committee and task force work.

    3. Copyright, as defined by the U.S. Copyright Office is: A form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for “original works of authorship”, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. “Copyright” literally means the right to copy but has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work.
    Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, title, principle, or discovery. Similarly, names, titles, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, coloring, and listings of contents or ingredients are not subject to copyright.

    4. Fair use is defined by the U.S. Copyright Office as: Fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

    a) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    b) the nature of the copyrighted work;
    c) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    d) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

    5. Intellectual property is defined as inventions, discoveries, technologies, processes, methods, trade secrets, computer software, literary works, instructional materials, publications, literature, art, dramatic and musical works, and all audiovisual materials including video, film, photographs, and audio programs that are in fixed form, regardless of format.
    6. A Patent, according to the U.S. Patent Office, is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
    7. Specific contracts are written for creation of intellectual property on behalf of the College for work that is mutually determined to be outside the regular work assignment of employees.

    Policy Process

    1. SFCC will make reasonable effort to inform employees and students about copyright and fair use so that they can comply with all pertinent laws.
    2. No employee of the College, acting as an employee of the College, may duplicate, distribute, and/or otherwise publish protected material without the written permission of the copyright holder, except under those circumstances in which use of copyrighted material qualifies under the fair-use provision of the copyright laws.
    3. If an employee does receive copyright permission from the copyright holder, the permission will be filed with the College.
    4. Students may not duplicate, distribute, and/or otherwise publish protected material without the written permission of the copyright holder, except under those circumstances in which use of copyrighted material qualifies under the fair-use provision of the copyright laws.
    5. Any employee or student who knowingly violates copyright laws or this policy is responsible for his or her actions.
    6. The College or an employee may initiate discussion of a specific contract for the creation of intellectual property.

    Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

    The President, through the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs (OASA), shall be responsible for enforcing academic and student affairs procedures and policies. OASA shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention and remediation.


    Academic Freedom Policy 3-14
    U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 – 810
    Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf
    Higher Education Opportunity Act  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html

    1-15-02, SFCC Governing Board 9/6/01
    Updated: 8/18/03
    Updated: 5/28/08
    Revised and Governing Board approved: 6/22/16

    View Prodecures