Policy Handbook


Beeghly Library

Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright law generally exists to protect the potential commercial benefits of authors and creators. It also can help copyright owners control how their work is used. A work is covered under copyright the moment it is created, regardless of whether or not it is stated on the work.

There are several exceptions to copyright (ex. fair use), but if you are ever in doubt whether or not your request fulfills an exception, seek permission to use from the copyright owner.

Getting Permission

Often you can request permission from the copyright holder of the work you want to use. Depending on each case the time required can vary, so plan ahead. 

The Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) can grant permission for use of thousands of text-based works. As a general rule, start here when desiring permission to use a text-based work. CCC is able to provide a simple and cost-effective method of securing permissions for the use of many text-based forms of copyrighted materials. Although some permissions are granted instantly at CCC online, others may take much longer. The service recommends entering your application four to six weeks before the start of the term for which the materials will be needed.

Fair Use

The idea of "Fair Use" provides us with the ability to use materials under copyright in the classroom; HOWEVER, there are four criteria that govern whether use falls under "fair use".

    1. The PURPOSE of the use

    2. The NATURE of the work

   3. The AMOUNT of the work used

   4. The IMPACT of use on the rights holder

Fill out the following PDF form and save it to determine and claim fair use or to denote permission obtained for EACH copyrighted work you use:

Hints for Fair Use and Multimedia

You can use small portions of multimedia (including electronic) copyrighted works in academic projects, such use must be directly related to classroom activities. Follow these guidelines:

More Information

Hints for Fair Use and Audio-Visual Materials

More Information

  1. Audio-Visual Fair Use

Links to Further Information Regarding Copyright Law

  1. Stanford Copyright & Fair Use
  2. U.S. Copyright Office
  3. Guidelines for Copyright Compliance with Course Management Systems

If you have any copyright questions, don't hesitate to contact a librarian. 

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