Students are required to comply with all local, state, federal, and international copyright laws and with College policies regarding the use of copyright-protected materials at Texarkana College. Whenever copyright-protected works are used and fair use does not clearly apply, Texarkana College requires students to obtain written permission from the copyright owner. Downloading, uploading, or transmitting files containing copyright-protected works without the permission of the copyright owner is prohibited by Texarkana College. A violation of this policy may subject the infringer to Texarkana College disciplinary action, is illegal, infringes the copyright owner’s rights, and may result in legal liability for the infringer and the College.

Most forms of expression, whether images, sculptures, designs, interactive works, books, movies, blogs, videos, music, or software, are protected by copyright law upon fixation in a tangible form. Expressive works are protected whether or not the work bears a copyright notice, and without regard to where the work is published or displayed. Copyright-protected works cannot be copied, distributed, adapted, performed, or displayed without the permission of the copyright owner. Any unauthorized use of copyright-protected work infringes the copyright owner’s exclusive rights under copyright law.

A finding of copyright infringement does not require that the unauthorized use of the work be commercial, or that the infringer knows that the use is infringing. Even accidental copyright infringement creates legal liability. An infringer faces paying the copyright owner monetary damages, having the infringing work destroyed, and serving time or paying fines for certain criminal activities connected to copyright infringement. If the infringed work was registered with the U.S. Copyright office prior to infringement, the copyright owner may be entitled to collect anywhere from $750 to $150,000 per infringement in “statutory damages” from the infringer. Simply defending an accusation of copyright infringement is costly.

Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement that is intended to provide room for freedom of expression in the copyright law. Where an unauthorized use transforms, repurposes, comments upon, or criticizes the original copyright protected work, or is made for scholarly or educational purposes, the use may be a fair use and on-infringing of the copyright owner’s rights. On the other hand, an unauthorized use of a copyright-protected work that merely reproduces the original work for a purpose similar to the original work’s purpose is unlikely to be a fair use. The fair use defense to copyright infringement is a complex body of law and often requires a substantial expenditure of legal fees to succeed. Sharing music, movies, or software online without the permission of the copyright owner is not a fair use.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) penalizes circumvention of technology use to prevent the unauthorized use of copyright-protected works. A violation of the DMCA may result in criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, and the defense of fair use does not apply to any provisions of the DMCA.

Texarkana College prohibits use of its technology systems, including, without limitation, use of its website, email system, intranet, digital studios, social media sites, computer labs and bulletin board systems (“Technology Resources”) in connection with illegal activities, including such activities as circumvention of access control or copy protection technology, unauthorized file sharing, or other means of downloading, copying, distributing, or sharing by others without the permission of the copyright owner.