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Copyright Resources: FAQs

Find information on using copyrighted material in education.

Frequent Copyright Questions and Scenarios

Showing Videos: In a face to face class there is not an issue with showing any legally obtained copy of a video or streaming it as long as it relates to what you are teaching and your class objectives. If it moves beyond the classroom you do need public performance rights even if you are not charging admission to the screening.  Any video from Films on Demand can be added to your course without additional permission because the library subscribes to that service and there is an app in Canvas to easily add the content.


Copies of articles or book chapters: If you are in a face to face class you can make a copy of an article for your students to use without permission as long as it is not something you will be using semester after semester. Scanning the article or downloading an article and posting it in a learning management system such as Canvas is also okay if it is "spontaneous."  But just like copies, if you are using it more than one semester you need to get copyright permission to post it.  

For more information see: Using Course Management Systems: Guidelines and Best Practices for Copyright Compliance


Coursepacks: Coursepacks are traditionally a collection of sources that are copied and sold In the college book store. In general, anytime you are making a coursepack for your class to use you must obtain the correct copyright permissions. Courts have pretty clear on what is and is not allowed. Usually permissions are given for a semester only and must be renewed if the material is used again.  It doesn't always cost to get permissions, but with coursepacks often the publisher will base the cost on number of students in the course.  Again the librarians can assist you in obtaining the proper permissions if you decide to put one together but remember the process can be time consuming. 

For more information see: Stanford University created a great guide on "Academic Coursepacks and Copyright."


Textbooks: Copying textbooks (especially workbooks) should be avoided; because of the impact on the market it often leans in the direction of "not fair use." We can put textbooks on reserve at the library for your students to use. The library reserve collection contains course-related material available for a limited checkout period to give all students access to the material. That way if the student wants to make copies of the textbook it is for their own personal use.


Library Reserves: Permission is probably not needed if the use of the material is for only one semester, as this is considered "inspirational" use. However, if the article or book chapter will be used again, or if you are using a significant amount of one work (for example, more than one chapter of a book), copyright permission must be obtained. Also remember that "out of print" does not automatically give permission to photocopy.  Faculty members should contact library liaisons for assistance in requesting copyright permission.