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Using Copyrighted Works in Instruction

Copyright law recognizes the need for professors and students to be able to use copyrighted works in the course of teaching activities. Many copyrighted materials may be used in the classroom either under fair use, a statutory exemption, or through a license agreement with the Library. 

Print Materials

Online Materials

Film and Media

Other Materials

Whenever you use the works of others in your teaching, you will need to find for an exception to copyright law that will allow the use of the materials

  • Works in the public domain may be used freely, without any copyright restrictions.
  • Most works with Creative Commons licenses may be used for non-profit educational purposes - always check the details of the license to be sure that your use is covered.
  • You may use limited portions of copyrighted material in your work without permission of the copyright owner. Before using a work under the fair use doctrine, however, you will need to evaluate whether your use qualifies as fair, which must be done on a case-by-case basis by analyzing the four fair use factors: the purpose and character of your use; the nature of the copyrighted work; the amount and substantiality of the portion taken; and the effect of the use upon the potential market.
  • If the work you are using does not fall into any of the categories above, you can request permission from the copyright holder.

For additional information, download the Know Your Copyrights brochure from the Association of Research Libraries.