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Copyright and Fair Use

A guide for Roosevelt faculty, staff, and students.

Navigating Copyright in the Classroom

As an instructor you’ve probably come across situations where you were not sure what the best way to ethically and conveniently share materials with your students. Can you make photocopies and hand them out in class? Can you put this on reserve? Or do you need to have your students buy yet another textbook?

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has created a guide for faculty about how to use materials responsibly in the classroom. Here are the highlights:

Keep it simple: link when possible

Rather than making photo copies of materials to hand out in the classroom, give students a link. In many cases you can link to materials that are available online through the web or through the library’s databases. You can also put items on electronic reserve using this web form.

When linking won’t do

Alongside copyright protections, the use of many electronic resources is governed by licenses between creators and users, and your usage rights change from license to license. This can make it challenging to sort out your ability to use materials in the class room.

  • Look for materials that are available through Creative Commons licenses, where creators intentionally license their work for other to access and use.
  • Look for works that are in the public domain, which are no longer protected by copyright.
  • Consider if your purpose falls under fair use.

How to Teach Students About Copyright

Resources for Teaching Faculty

RU Library Reserves

Want to make sure your students have access to resources they need for class? Place them on reserve in the library. Click here for instructions and information about reserves.