Copyright Matters

The resources below will help you learn more about your responsibilities relative to copyright and the use of copyrighted materials in your online courses. They are intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice.

Understanding Your Responsibility by Law and Practice

Understanding Copyright, Public Domain, and Creative Commons

  • Copyright Information Resource Center (Empire State College) provides a concise but comprehensive set of resources on topics related to copyright, public domain, fair use, educational use, the TEACH Act, and more, including several handy tools for thinking through these legal definitions and documenting your decisions when selecting content for your courses.
  • Copyright: The Law and Guidelines (UAlbany Libraries) is a curated libguide of resources from other educational institutions, government offices, and other concern organizations about laws and best practices with regard to Fair Use of copyrighted materials.
  • How Do I Know if It’s in the Public Domain (Empire State College) contains a variety of categories of information about public domain and related copyright information.
  • About Creative Commons Licenses (Creative Commons) provides an overview of the rationale and features of the various Creative Commons Licenses available along with a useful license selection tool.

Fair Use

  • Fair Use (Empire State College) explains the need to weigh four key criteria when deciding whether or not a desired use of copyrighted materials is acceptable under the law.  The site includes a handy tool called the Fair Use Helper for assessing Fair Use and documenting your decision for later reference.
  • The Five Step Approach for Analyzing Copyright Use (LSU Libraries) provides a Q&A of common questions about copyright as well as links to additional information and tools.
  • Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video (Center for Media and Social Impact) describes six potential Fair Uses of copyrighted materials including cautions on limitations that apply.

Educational Use (face-to-face) and the TEACH Act (online)

  • Video: Educational Use and Teach Act (Sarah Morehouse, Creative Commons Attribution License) provides a concise explanation of the differences between Educational Use in a face-to-face class and TEACH Act uses through an online Learning Management System (LMS) such as Blackboard.
  • TEACH Act (University of Texas Libraries) provides a discussion of the meaning and application of the TEACH Act.  The navigation menu contains many other informative resources including a TEACH Act Checklist. 

Additional Resources and Tools

  • Resources (Copyright Advisory Network – American Library Association, Office for Information Technology Policy) provides links to several useful resources, including the Copyright Genie, Fair Use Evaluator, Public Domain Slider, Section 108 Spinner, and the Exceptions for Instructors eTool, as well as the embed code for adding these tools directly to a website or libguide.