|Question: How are the safe harbor provisions applied to educational institutions?
Answer: The safe harbor provisions make a special exception to educational institutions that qualify as service providers under section 512. [512(e)] While a corporation is responsible for the activities of its employees, faculty members or graduate student employees who are performing teaching or research functions are not considered a part of the institution itself for certain infringing activities so as to maintain the academic freedom of these institutions. [512(e)(1)]
The institution can therefore avoid liability for infringement even if the infringing individuals knew they were infringing, provided that:
- the infringing activities did not involve the provision of access to materials required for a course within the previous three years [512(e)(1)(A)]
- the institution has not received more than two notifications of alleged infringement by the faculty member or graduate student in the preceding three year period [512(e)(1)(B)]
- the institution provides all users of its network or system with informational materials that describe and promote compliance with copyright law [512(e)(1)(C)]