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 Chilling Effects Clearinghouse > DMCA Safe Harbor > Frequently Asked Questions > How are the safe harbor provisions applied to educ...? Printer-friendly version
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)]

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