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Copyright and Fair Use  

This page contains information about copyright laws and fair use descriptions, links to Creative Commons licenses image and music sites, and copyright free image and music sites.
Last Updated: Jun 1, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Fair Use Map

Clear Flow Chart explaining Fair Use.



Copyright Rules and Fair Use

Easy Guide to the Copyright Rules as pertaining to your classes.

Takeaways from the ARL Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries, January 2012


The Association of Research Libraries has developed a Code of Best Practices that address fair use for research and educational purposes. This code takes into account the use of copyrighted materials posted in learning management systems, like Canvas. The most relevant principle is copied directly from the Code and is explained below.



It is fair use to make appropriately tailored course-related content available to

enrolled students via digital networks.

You are allowed to post copyrighted articles, book chapters, images, videos, etc. on your Canvas course page.



Closer scrutiny should be applied to uses of content created and marketed

primarily for use in courses such as the one at issue (e.g., a textbook, workbook,

or anthology designed for the course). Use of more than a brief excerpt from

such works on digital networks is unlikely to be transformative and therefore

unlikely to be a fair use.

Unless specifically purchased as an on-line classroom tool, as in the case of an e-text, it’s best to use brief excerpts from a larger work, rather than just post the entire work.

The availability of materials should be coextensive with the duration of the

course or other time-limited use (e.g., a research project) for which they have

been made available at an instructor’s direction.

Articles or book excerpts, or any other copyrighted material should be posted in an online course for the duration of the course or curricular unit, and not kept permanently on the site. (Even if you know you will be using the material again - next year or semester - you should remove it from your Canvas page until you plan to use it again. When you have ended the unit or semester, take it down.)

Only eligible students and other qualified persons (e.g., professors’ graduate

assistants) should have access to materials.

Make sure copyrighted materials are available through a password-protected portal, like Canvas. Parents and others outside the course should not have access to the copyrighted material from your Canvas page.

Materials should be made available only when, and only to the extent that, there

is a clear articulable nexus between the instructor’s pedagogical purpose and the

kind and amount of content involved.

In order for fair use to be applied, the posted material should be directly related to the course content; no posting of something just for fun, etc.

Libraries should provide instructors with useful information about the nature

and the scope of fair use, in order to help them make informed requests.

When in doubt, ask a librarian.

When appropriate, the number of students with simultaneous access to online

materials may be limited.

Students should also be given information about their rights and responsibilities

regarding their own use of course materials.

Full attribution, in a form satisfactory to scholars in the field, should be

provided for each work included or excerpted.


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