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Faculty: Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials in Teaching

A guide to what is allowed in the online and in person teaching environment. Covers using licensed and copyrighted readings, videos, and other materials, how to evaluate if a use is a Fair Use, and Creative Commons.


Class Readings: what CAN you do?

Keep it simple--Link when possible

In many cases you can eliminate the need for permission or paying a fee by simply providing your students with a link to the work rather than copying or downloading it for distribution.

  • The library may provide licensed articles, electronic books, and book chapters through library databases -- free of charge. Librarians can help you with providing the best link.
  • A work may legitimately be available in an Institutional Repository, open archives, on an author website, or open access journal.
  • Whether or not you are sharing your own publications with students, consider providing Open Access copies of your work to the UA Institutional Repository ScholarWorks

If you hold the copyright or you are using materials with Creative Commons licensing terms, you may be able to upload these types of sources as documents to Blackboard Learning Management System. But providing links is the preferred way.

Licensed Uses

Typically Use of electronic resources today is commonly governed, not just by copyright, but also by licenses between owners and users. Your use rights can differ from license to license. Commonly a publisher’s or aggregator’s license with a research library will allow faculty and their students to:

  • Print a reasonable amount of a work.
  • Share it with other authorized users covered by the license (typically, all faculty and enrolled students are authorized users).
  • Creative Commons licenses can provide flexibility and specify what types of uses are allowed. See our section on "Creative Commons" or the CC website for more information.

Course Reserves

Use our Course Reserves service to provide course readings in-person for checkout at the Egan Library.

Videos: what CAN you do?

Know Your Copyrights: Tips for Faculty


This guide was created with the help of the following resources:

Know your copy rights: Tips for faculty & teaching assistants in higher education, an Association of Research Libraries guide Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 2.5 License

Copyright Advisory Services guide, Columbia University Libraries

Fair Use

How to judge whether a use is fair use

There are four factors to weigh when considering whether a use of copyrighted material is considered a fair use. Information here is from Know Your CopyRights brochure.

  1. Purpose and character: if the use is educational in nature and furthermore access is limited only to your students, the scale tips in favor of this being fair use of copyrighted material.
  2. Nature of copyrighted work: Is the work fact-based? Is it published? Out of print?
  3. Amount used: Using a small portion of the whole work would weigh towards fair use. However, sometimes it is also fair to use an entire work (such as an image) if needed for your instructional purposes.
  4. Effect on the market: A heavier weight on the scale--does your use harm the market value for use of the work?

Creative Commons

An Introduction to Creative Commons

What is a Creative Commons License?

Public Domain

Public Domain Explained

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and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual:

Research Guides by Egan Library | University of Alaska Southeast are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0