Fair Use

A frequent concern is use of copyrighted material in your course. As you are teaching, you may locate items such as articles, handouts, or diagrams that you wish to send out to students enrolled in your course. One of the issues that the University asks us to be very careful of, for legal reasons, is the inclusion of externally copyrighted materials. If any article or handout you wish to use has been pulled from a textbook, journal, or other external source, it may need to be cleared for copyright permission before it can be distributed to students. The clearance process can take time and can significantly add to the cost of course materials.

Factors related to fair use should be examined to determine whether the items you wish to use require clearance. Some items, such as materials produced by the government or items that have passed out of copyright protection, are available for use without going through the formal clearance process. There are also individuals and organizations that create useful materials and clearly indicate that those materials may be used “for educational purposes.” Some publishers do not permit their publications to be placed in an electronic environment such as the Web; others stipulate that items may be used if the site is protected in some manner.

One option to consider is to use the Electronic Reserve system through the University Libraries. The library can provide fair and accessible online resources for courses. For more information on use of the eReserve system, visit the “Electronic Reserve Request Form” page.

For additional information, please visit the Copyright Perspectives Fair Use website.

If you are unsure where to find the information you need to determine what materials you can use in your course that fall within fair use, consult with your Dutton Institute learning designer.