Copyright and Intellectual Property

Virginia Peninsula Community College does not condone or tolerate the unauthorized copying of copyrighted materials, including licensed computer software or digital media by staff, faculty, or students. The college shall adhere to and comply with all copyright laws, and expects all members of the college community to do so as well.

Faculty and staff of Virginia Peninsula are responsible for complying with United States copyright law and for initiating his or her own intellectual property agreements with the College. Virginia Peninsula encourages its faculty and staff to have a basic knowledge of current United States Copyright Law and Virginia Intellectual Property Law as they pertain to state-supported colleges, and Section 12.0 of the Virginia Community College Policy Manual regarding intellectual property.

The President of Virginia Peninsula Community College has designated the Director of Learning Resources as the Intellectual Property Officer for the College. The Director of Learning Resources Office may be contacted at 757-825-2871.

Owner's Rights

Copyright - A copyright assigns to the owner of copyrightable intellectual property the following five exclusive rights:

  • To reproduce the work;
  • To prepare derivative works or adaptations;
  • To distribute the work by sale, rent, license, lease, or lending;
  • To perform the work, and
  • To display the work.

Copyright ownership for Virginia Peninsula Community College works are determined in accordance with APM 7.15 Intellectual Property (PDF).

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property includes but is not limited to any material defined within one or more of the following categories:

  • A potentially patentable machine, product, composition of matter, process, or improvement, in any of these;
  • An issued patent;
  • A legal right which is part of a patent; or
  • Anything that is copyrightable.

Examples of copyrightable intellectual property include:

  • Written Materials - literary, dramatic, and musical materials or works, published or unpublished;
  • Courseware - lectures, printed materials, images and other items used in the delivery of a course, regardless of the physical medium of expression;
  • Visual and/or Recorded Materials - sound, visual, audio-visual, and television films or tapes, video tapes, motion pictures or other recordings or transcriptions, published or unpublished; and
  • Computer Related Materials - computer programs, procedures and other documents involved in the operation and maintenance of a data processing system, including program listings, compiler tapes, a library of sub-routines, user and programmer manuals, specifications, and databases.

What is copyright infringement?

The law of copyright indicates that copyright protection applies to original works of authorship fixed in a tangible form of expression, directly or indirectly perceptible, including, but not limited to, literary works, musical works (including any accompanying works), dramatic works (including any accompanying music), motion pictures and other audiovisual works and sound recordings. The owner of copyright has exclusive rights to reproduce, perform, display and/or prepare derivative works of the copyrighted work, and to distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer or ownership, or by rental, lease or lending. Copyright infringement is the violation of any of a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Examples of copyright infringement:

  • Copying the contents of someone else's webpage or use of video clips or sound recording without permission would in many cases be infringement.
  • Unauthorized duplication, distribution or use of someone else's intellectual property, including computer software is copyright infringement and is illegal and is subject to criminal and civil penalties.
  • Unauthorized duplication and distribution of sound recordings is infringement.

What is Fair Use?

The "fair use" of copyrighted works does not constitute infringement under copyright law. Fair use extends to the reproduction of copyrighted material for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research. In order to determine whether use of a work is fair use:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether the material is used for nonprofit educational purposes rather than commercial gain;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. how much of the entire work is used; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Examples of fair use:

  • Quoting passages from, rather than a significant portion of, a book in a report for a class assignment
  • Providing a link to someone else's webpage in a report for a class assignment

What are the penalties for copyright infringement?

Legal action available to the owner of the copyright includes obtaining an injunction preventing future infringement activity as well as monetary compensation that may exceed $150,000.

Who should you contact if you have questions regarding Copyright/Intellectual Property?

The College Intellectual Property Office is the Director of Learning Resources. 757-825-2871. Hampton Campus - Wythe Hall, 227-C. For additional information about United States Copyright and Intellectual Property laws, visit