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National Louis University recognizes and respects intellectual property rights. As part of our mission to maintain the highest standards for ethical conduct, we are committed to fulfilling our moral and legal obligations with respect to our use of copyrighted works. NLU stands by the policies outlined in its Copyright Compliance Policy and encourages faculty, staff and students to reference it prior to using copyrighted material. 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.


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.


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books, magazines, journals, newsletters, maps, charts, photographs, graphic materials, and other printed materials; unpublished materials, such as analysts' and consultants' reports; and non-print materials, including electronic content, computer programs and other software, sound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. Copyright protection exists from the moment of creation of the work. 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.


A provision for Fair Use is found in the Copyright Act at Section 107. 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, or 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, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for educational purposes by a non-profit educational institution;
  2. The nature of the copyright-protected work;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyright-protected work.

Fair Use is a vague concept, and the law does not state exactly what uses of a copyrighted work will be considered a fair use under the law and may, therefore, be used without obtaining permission. 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, so when in doubt, request permission.

To avoid confusion and minimize the risk of copyright infringement, National Louis University 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.

In each of these situations, credit to the source material must be given. If your use does not meet the above criteria and the work is protected by copyright (which is likely the case), then you need to obtain permission by completing the Permissions Request Form.


Classroom Handouts
Classroom handouts fall into two categories; one that requires permission and one that does not. As noted above, 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 term to term, 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 by completing the Permissions Request Form.

All articles, chapters and other individual works in any print or electronic coursepack require copyright permission. Copyright permission for coursepacks is usually granted by the academic term. To reuse a coursepack for subsequent terms, you must obtain permission again. Many copyright holders provide time-sensitive permission because their own rights may be time-sensitive and could be transferred to different copyright holders at any time. To request permission for materials to be included in a coursepack, complete a Permissions Request Form for each copyrighted work.

Distance Education and Course Management Systems
In 2002, the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act became law and expanded the opportunity universities, including National Louis University, have for the performance and display of copyright-protected materials in a distance education environment, including through the use of Course Management Systems (CMS).

The copyright requirements for TEACH and CMS postings are similar to those of classroom handouts, but extend the traditional rules for those handouts to the digital transmission of materials to distance education students. If the use is spontaneous and will not be repeated, copyright permission is not required, as explained above; however, the content may not remain posted for extended periods of time. If the use is planned, repeated or involves works that have existed long enough that one could reasonably expect to receive a response to a request for copyright permission, then you must obtain permission by completing a Permissions Request Form for each copyrighted work.

Photocopying by Students
Photocopying by students is subject to a fair use analysis as well. A single photocopy of a portion of a copyright-protected work, such as a copy of an article from a scientific journal made for research, may be made without permission. Photocopying all the assignments from a book recommended for purchase by the instructor, making multiple copies of articles or book chapters for distribution to classmates, or copying material from consumable workbooks, all require permission.

Course Reserves
The policy governing course reserves is based on the provisions of fair use as outlined in the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Section 107 of the Act permits faculty to request course materials be placed on traditional or electronic reserve. All reserve materials must comply with copyright laws.

Current fair use guidelines do not cover the use of material beyond one semester. Use of the material for subsequent terms will require written permission from the copyright holder. Additional information on Course Reserves is available through Library and Learning Support.

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing is the use of a P2P application that shares files with other users across the internet, making the computer act as a client and server simultaneously. P2P applications such as BitTorrent, Kazaa, Bearshare, Morphus, Gnutella, Limewire and others, are used to download files, as well as to make them available for others to download. When using P2P applications, be aware that the content of the "shared" folder on your machine will be available to other P2P users. As a result, a P2P user can download music, movies, games or other digital files directly from someone else's machine, without knowing if the material is copyright protected. This process of file sharing can be a source of illegal distribution of copyright protected material, which may result in civil and criminal penalties. Further, users of P2P software may inadvertently share sensitive files like tax returns, bank statements, or confidential business files.

National Louis University raises awareness about copyright law and takes appropriate action in support of enforcement as required by policy and law. The University's Acceptable Use of Information Technology Policy states that all members of the University must comply with US copyright law. In addition, the policy prohibits the duplication of software for multiple uses, meeting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requirements.

Individuals who illegally upload or download copyrighted files, even unintentionally, may be subject to civil penalties of between $750 and $150,000 per file. Intentional copyright infringement may also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. Peer-to-peer file sharing is a copyright violation and punishable under US laws and international treaties, including but not limited to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 and other US copyright laws. Peer-to-peer file sharing is also subject to University sanctions as stated under the Due Process section of NLU’s Acceptable Use of Information Technology Policy.

For more information on copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing, please visit the Recording Industry Association of America.


By reproducing, republishing or redistributing the work of a copyright holder without permission, you may be violating or infringing on his or her rights under the Copyright Act.

If the copyright holder has registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to the infringement, the copyright holder may sue for compensation. Court-ordered compensation may include damages such as lost profits from the infringing activity or statutory damages ranging from $250 to $150,000, plus attorneys' fees, for each infringing copy. Even higher damages may be awarded if the court feels that the infringement was committed "willfully."

You also be criminally liable if you willfully copy a work for profit or financial gain, or if the copied work has a value of more than $1,000. In these cases, penalties can include a one-year jail sentence plus fines. If the value is more than $2,500, you may be sentenced to five years in jail plus fines. Criminal penalties generally apply to large-scale commercial piracy.


If you suspect that anyone at National Louis University, including a student, is using copyright-protected material without the permission of the copyright holder, you may anonymously report it to the university’s Let Us Know form.


Permission to use copyright-protected material should be obtained prior to use. The timeline to obtain permission may vary so it is recommended to start the permissions procedure at least 4-6 weeks prior to the time that you wish to use the material. Requests should be submitted though our online Permissions Request Form. For additional information, please contact Lori Fedele at



    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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