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Scholarly Communication Services - Copyright for Teaching & Instruction: Essentials

Copyright for Teaching & Instruction

Fair Use  Public Domain  Classroom Use  DMCA  Creative Commons Request Permission

What do you need to do?  What questions do you have?

The answer for any copyright question usually begins with 'it depends...' rather than a quick 'yes' or 'no.'  The details of using a copyrighted work and for what purposes will guide its answer.  Applying and interpreting copyright law, particularly exemptions (also known as exceptions), will help inform if (and how) a copyrighted work can be reused without permission. 

The chart below presents a list of common copyright scenarios for teaching and learning.  What you may do depends on whether you are teaching face-to-face, posting works on Canvas, or having a class held online.  Then, by selecting your setting, you can view links to relevant copyright concepts that can inform your copyright question. 

Your decision to use a copyrighted work will ultimately be based on your interpretation of these exceptions, values for using the intellectual property of others, and tolerance for risk.  

While copyright law and its language may appear daunting, be assured that some limits to copyright are essential for free speech, cultural expression, promotion of new ideas and creations, and also teaching and learning.  Increasing your familiarity with copyright concepts will help you make better informed use of them.

I want to: For face-to-face teaching and in a classroom: On Canvas or For an Online Class Refer to the Following Page(s):
Make paper copies of a copyrighted work. X  
Share a URL to a web page. X X

Distributing a URL on its own does not violate copyright.  Recommended:

  • Know who is responsible for the content of the web page.
  • Be sure the content was legally posted (and not a pirated work).
  • Make sure the web page doesn't require a log-in (that's not an FAUNet ID) or have other restrictions on viewing it.
Read, share, or perform a copyrighted work. X  
  X
Show a video or digital work. X  
  X
Find or use works for teaching (e.g., books, articles, assignments, videos). X X
Find or use images or clipart for teaching, presentations, or publications. X X
Scan a whole copyrighted book or copy an entire movie. X X

Not recommended.  This is usually a violation of copyright although works in the public domain or rare, hard-to-obtain items may qualify; in these cases, please review and apply relevant copyright laws.

Talk about this with someone! X X Contact us!  The FAU Libraries does not provide legal advice, but we can help you clarify your use of copyrighted work, ID what copyright principles might apply, and other options. 

Disclaimer: The FAU Libraries and its faculty, staff, and administration are not attorneys and cannot interpret the law.  This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not substitute for advice from legal counsel.

Copyright Exceptions for Teaching & Learning

Copyright law has exemptions (also known as exceptions) that allow copyrighted works to be reused without permission under certain conditions; the following exceptions marked with are most frequently used in library and education settings. The links in blue lead to respective exceptions in current US copyright law:

Section 101 Definition
Sections 102 - 105 Subject matter(s) of copyright
Section 106 Exclusive rights in copyrighted works
Section 107* Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use*
Section 108*

Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives*
108(d & e): Interlibrary Loan*

Section 109 Limitations on exclusive rights: Effect of transfer of particular copy or phonorecord

Section 110*
In-Class Performance

Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performances and displays
110(1): Class use (also known as Classroom Exception)*
110(2): TEACH Act
110(2)d: TEACH Act provisions

Section 121*

Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction for blind or other people with disabilities*
Section 121ALimitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction for blind or other people with disabilities in Marrakesh Treaty countries*

Disclaimer: The FAU Libraries and its faculty, staff, and administration are not attorneys and cannot interpret the law.  This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not substitute for advice from legal counsel.

Source:  U.S. Copyright Office (2016).  Copyright law of the United Stateshttps://www.copyright.gov/title17/

Copyright in Higher Education

Copyright Clearance Center (2017, September 28).  Copyright is essential [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/_pySBGCFliY 

Better Practices for Copyright for Teaching & Instruction

Copyright @ FAU

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