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Copyright for Educators

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

When to Obtain Permission

Does the item have a copyright statement or Terms of Use?

  • Public Domain content does not require permission for use.
  • Content published under a Creative Commons attribution license is free to use under the terms of that license.
  • If the terms of use allow you to use it as intended, no further permission is required.

Could the item be found in an online library database or licensed resource?

Does your intended use of the item require permission? Will it be...

  • Scanned and posted to Moodle
  • Copied and distributed to your class
  • Copied and placed on reserve at the library
  • Borrowed via ILL from another library
  • Used in a private consulting project or job

See also, the section of this guide on Fair Use

Can you contact the copyright holder directly for permission?

  • If you locate contact information for the author or copyright-holder, you can contact that person yourself for permission and any associated fees for use. Here is a sample permission letter.
  • Use the Copyright Clearance Center or similar services to streamline the process. Contact the Viterbo University Bookstore for help.
  • Keep a dated copy of the permission letter or sent email on file. Not hearing back from a copyright-holder is a factor favoring fair use of the item.

For more information please see: The Basics of Getting Permission from Stanford University.