Copyright Guidelines

The following guidelines are intended to assist instructors in assessing the use of copyrighted materials for instructional purposes.  In general, nonprofit educational use of copyrighted materials is widely held to be fair use. Consideration of fair use is based on the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the work used, and cumulative effect of the use.

Printed Materials:

  • Single copies for scholarly research, teaching, and course preparation are permissible.
  • Multiple copies of one per student for one course.
  • Consumable publications (e.g. workbooks, lab manuals) may not be copied.
  • Copying must consider the tests of brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect.
  • Copying is at the inspiration of the instructor.
  • Copying cannot substitute for an anthology.
  • Copying cannot be directed by a higher authority.

Audio (e.g. music)

  • Portions of recordings for instructional purposes other than performances are permissible.
  • The Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) multimedia guidelines suggests limiting the portion used to roughly 10 percent.
  • The number of copies shall not exceed one copy per student.
  • The making of a single copy of a sound recording owned by the educational institution or individual teacher is permissible.
  • Copying to make an anthology is prohibited.
  • A single copy of a performance by a student for evaluation or rehearsal purposes is permissible and may be retained by the institution.


  • The showing of college owned or “For Home Use Only” videos for instructional purposes is permissible.
  • Videos must be used in a classroom setting only.
  • Programs recorded from TV (broadcast or “basic service” cable – i.e. for reception by the general public without charge) are permissible, but can only be kept for 45 days.
  • Programs recorded from satellite transmissions are prohibited without license or permission.


  • Students and teachers may use limited amounts of copyrighted materials (generally 10% of the whole work) for classroom multimedia projects with proper attribution.
  • Photographs and/or illustrations are permissible, but within the limitation of 10%  (or 15 images) from a collected work.
  • Multimedia projects may be shown in class or conference-like settings for 2 years.
  • Projects may be used for personal portfolios for review.
  • Projects may be performed or displayed over a secure network.

Digital materials and online courses:

  • In general, posting copyrighted materials to a publicly accessible web site is prohibited.

  • Restricting access via a password or PIN to instructional materials on a course site, which may include copyrighted materials, will allow for fair use.  Blackboard course sites fall into this category.


    It is permissible to copy Internet links (url) for purposes of scholarship, research, or instruction as long as the content is not copied.


  • Links to articles in selected Library periodical or research databases (e.g. Academic Search Premier, Literature Resource Center, Opposing Viewpoints in Context) are permissible depending on the licensing agreement with that specific database.  Check with Librarians to verify fair use.

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