One of the main questions or concerns we hear about copyright is often: who is liable for copyright infringement? It is important to know that, as a faculty member, YOU ARE LIABLE for the use of copyrighted materials in both your eLearn course sites and any other course websites you create (such as WordPress, blogger, etc.).
First and foremost, it is important to assess whether or not the material you plan to use falls under the Fair Use exception to Copyright law. You can find more information about Fair Use, including its four main factors, guidelines to making your own fair use determination, and how to get in touch with us about copyright questions on our Copyright and Fair Use Libguide.
Here are some examples of what does and does not constitute fair use in eLearn or on other sites such as WordPress:
Constitutes fair use:
- A link to a reputable website that provides copyright holder information and/or Creative Commons Licensing information.
- Linking to or including PDFs of Open Access materials.
- An embedded YouTube video that was legally obtained and posted to YouTube.
- Any handouts or course materials you created, or any materials created by someone else under an appropriate Creative Commons license.
DOES NOT constitute fair use:
- A link to a website that contains pirated information, or that re-posts others’ copyrighted materials without the copyright holders’ knowledge or permission.
- A PDF that represents a significant percentage of, or an entire, copyrighted book.
- An embedded YouTube video that appears to have been pirated (for instance, an entire TV episode or film posted by an account that does not appear to be the director’s, producer’s, or offical studio’s account).
You should keep in mind the substantiality considerations of fair use in deciding how much of a work to post. However, the law does not specify a limit. It is widely accepted that one article from a journal or no more than 10% of a book meet the substantiality requirement (i.e., 10% represents a “safe harbor”), but fair use usually allows larger excerpts. The Library can assist you in making a determination, and we can also work with the Copyright Clearance Center to pay a permissions fee for slightly longer excerpts. Please note that if you are assigning 20-30% or more of a text, students will need to purchase the text, as we are unlikely to secure copyright permissions.
Course Packs and Copyright:
For those materials you print from other sources to give to your students as part of a course pack, you must make sure all of your materials have copyright permission or can be copied under “Fair Use.” Both the bookstore and the document center are concerned about copyright permissions since they would be liable if there was an infringement. Therefore, the bookstore will not sell your course packs unless you have proof of copyright or a statement of fair use and the complete citation should be included with each document.
Here is a short summary of what you need to do to get course packs or handout copied through the document center and distributed to the students through the bookstore:
- Please bring the materials to the circulation desk in the library first, don’t bring them to the document center.
- Copyright permissions must be obtained or a statement of “Fair Use” must be present for each document you are using. Sue Conant and her staff will work with you to figure out which materials need copyright permission and which will only require a Fair Use statement. And she will provide the documentations to go along with the materials for the bookstore.
- Because it takes time to obtain these permissions, let the staff at the library know which materials will be needed for the beginning of the semester so they can get permissions and can add them to Ares-eLearn so students can get the electronic copies right away if needed. Include the full citation for each document.
If you would like assistance making fair use determinations for your course materials, please contact us! Once you have let your Circulation Assistant know which items you would like on reserve, we can work with you to determine the best mode of access for your students.
In addition, the library can make many of your materials available through our Ares electronic reserves system. Ares is integrated with eLearn. For more information on enabling Ares within a course eLearn site, please visit the IT Knowledgebase. Please note that students MUST access ereserves through eLearn.
IMPORTANT SPRING DEADLINE: If you would like to create a course pack for spring semester, the Library must receive your materials no later than December 18, 2015. For electronic reserves, the deadline is January 4, 2016.
Have other copyright questions? Contact Sue Conant or Liz Chase and we’ll be happy to work with you.
This information is provided by the library to assist you in making informed decisions about copyright and fair use. It is intended as a general guideline and an interpretation of current copyright issues. It is not intended, and should not be construed as, legal advice,