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For Faculty: Copyright

Resources for Castleton University faculty for use of the library, incorporating information literacy into courses, sources for curriculum materials and more

Resources for teaching about copyright

The video above could be helpful to share with your students. From the Copyright Clearance Center.

from the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Resources and lessons from the National Association for Music Education:  Creativity in the Classroom.  Includes subject areas other than music.

Copyright in the course management system

Fair Use and Online Learning: What you need to know about posting copyright-protected material in your online course

Fair Use guidelines for sharing copyrighted material for educational purposes also apply to online learning environments. In addition to the Fair Use guidelines of brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect, limited access and limited time are also factors, which are in your favor using a course management system.  However…even if access to the material is limited to students who can log in to your course, copyright protections still apply.   

What to include on documents
If you are providing copyright-protected documents to students (documents that are not in the public domain, for which you are not the copyright holder, and for which you do not yet have permission from the copyright-holder to distribute),

Students should be made aware of the copyright-protected nature of the material.  All copyrighted material that is distributed for classroom use or posted in Canvas should be labeled with the following:

  • Any copyright notice on the original
  • Attribution to the original source (include the title page of a book, for example). 
  • This notice: Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code)

Link rather than upload
You have the option to link to copyrighted material, if it is already online, rather than posting it yourself and risking copyright violation.

Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used
A use is generally considered fair use if it uses a smaller amount of the source work. But the amount is proportional. A quote of 300 words from a 320-word poem is larger proportionally than a quote of 300 words from a 5000-word article.

Licensed content
Materials in library databases are licensed already, so consult those licenses (or ask a librarian) for more information on reusing licensed content in Canvas.  Films on Demand’s terms explicitly permit streaming in a course management system, for example.

Get permission if using more than one semester
Spontaneity is a Fair Use factor, so material should only be used for one semester without obtaining permission.  If it’s material you would like to use repeatedly, consider getting permission or linking to the material if possible, rather than copying it.

The 2002 Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) updated U. S. copyright law. These updates extended permission to educators to "perform" or "display" copyrighted works in an online educational environment, with some considerations beyond Fair Use:

  • Transmissions of video or audio should be in "an amount comparable to that typically displayed in the course of a live classroom setting"
  • The originals of material shared must be obtained through legal means (owned or licensed by the library or faculty member, for example)
  • Content from textbooks and educational media are to be given special consideration before reusing without permission, since you risk violating the “cumulative effect” criteria for Fair Use, since students might otherwise be expected to purchase those materials

More on copyright compliance in course management systems

Copyright Online FAQ from the Copyright and Digital Scholarship Center at North Carolina State University

Columbia University Library's Copyright Advisory Office offers many helpful resources for faculty

Helpful books

Resources on copyright

VSC Resources

Featured resources: 

"Copyright on Campus"
A video from the not-for-profit
Copyright Clearance Center

Using Copyrighted Works in Your Teaching: An FAQ: Questions Faculty and Teaching Assistants Need to Ask Themselves Frequently
by Peggy Hoon, J.D., Visiting Scholar for Campus Copyright and Intellectual Property, Association of Research Libraries

The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries  Web  | PDF

Copyright Crash Course from the University of Texas

Copyright Law of the United States from the United States Copyright Office

Ball State University Library's Copyright and Intellectual Property Office

Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines from the University of Maryland University College

Resources on Fair Use

Featured resources

Understanding Fair Use from the University of Minnesota

"Thinking through Fair Use" from the The University of Minnesota is an online tool that provides you with an analysis of your planned use of copyrighted material

Copyright and Fair Use from Stanford University and NOLO press.

Teaching Copyright from the Electronic Frontier Foundation

A Fair Use checklist from Indiana University

Measuring Fair Use: The Four Factors from Stanford University

About Public Performance Rights for showing films on campus

Copyright Guidelines for Showing Movies on Campus

Using video in class

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video from the Center for Media & Social Impact at American University

About Creative Commons licensing

An introduction to Creative Commons licensing, from the Creative Commons website:

An explanation of the options for Creative Commons licensing, from the Creative Commons website:

Another introduction to Creative Commons licensing, from the Creative Commons website: