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Copyright for Educators

Please check to see if the items you're using are considered fair use.

Copying for Classroom Use


  1. A single copy for your use in research or planning
    •     A chapter from a book;
    •     An article from a periodical or newspaper;
    •     A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
    •     A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.
  2. Multiple copies for students
    • One copy per student
    • If the copying meets the tests of brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect. (See Definitions below)


  1. The same item in subsequent terms (you can only use it for one semester!);
  2. Consumable items, such as workbooks, exercises or standardized tests;
  3. Instead of assigning a book or periodical article that should be purchased


  • Brevity: Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, (usually varies 3-8 pages depending on size of page and type) or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work, whichever is greater.
  • Spontaneity: The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and the inspiration and decision to use the work. The moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.
  • Cumulative effect: Copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.

Using an Entire Work or Using the Same Work for Multiple Semesters

Link to licensed library resources!

If you need to provide access to an entire work, do not copy it to your course shell. Instead, you can provide links to licensed library resources such as eBooks, Journals, or Videos.

Using links instead of posting electronic versions of articles (i.e., an Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word document) into Moodle avoids potentially infringing electronic copying and distribution. Alternatively, allowing students to find the work on their own reinforces needed research skills. If you need help in locating appropriate scholarly articles or journals for your class, please contact the Library.

Note on Linking to Library Resources

If you copy the database link for an article or other resource from the browser address bar, this link is temporary and will also not work for students when they are off-campus. Persistent Links are stable links that will always take students to a specific full-text article. In EBSCO databases, this is called a "Permalink".

Using Videos and Other Media

Videos and other media may be used by students and faculty for educational -- but not commercial -- purposes, such as:

  • class assignments
  • portfolio pieces
  • curriculum units
  • remote instruction
  • conference presentations

If a video is library-owned, the Instructional Support Services staff will digitize the video so it may be posted in Moodle. There are restrictions for online courses. Fill out a request form. The process may take several weeks.

Limits do not necessarily apply to public domain content or content available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License.

In the creation of learning objects using segments of multimedia, a citation to the original source of copyrighted material is required, as well as a notice such as: "certain materials are included under fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law...and are restricted from further use."

When searching for audio and visual materials to include in courses or assignments:



  • Any personal streaming service where user licenses supersede fair use provisions. This includes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, etc.