DU Guidelines on Use of Copyrighted Materials for Web-based Course Pages

The guidelines on use of copyrighted materials for course pages are generally derived from the fair use provisions of the United States Copyright Act of 1976 as amended. 17 USC Section 107 establishes that reproduction of copyrighted works for educational and research purposes does not constitute infringement if it conforms to four factors. The complete text of this section is as follows:

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

The collections of the Drury University Library are purchased with the understanding that numerous students and researchers will use them. The library pays institutional subscription rates for most of its journals that considerably exceed individual subscription rates because the publishers recognize that multiple uses will be made of these materials. Electronic copies of course materials, uploaded on course pages, provide an orderly means of making limited library materials available to all students enrolled in a class.
Guidelines for non-copyrighted materials:

  • Digital copies of personal materials such as syllabi, reading lists, homework solutions, lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, etc., may be included without restriction.
  • Digital copies of student papers or other projects may be included if the course syllabus has clarified this requirement for the students. Student papers should not be placed on faculty Web pages unrelated to class activity without permission.
  • Links to Web pages may be included without restriction.

Digital copies of copyrighted materials may be placed on course pages by faculty or a designated assistant or collaborator. Faculty should determine whether their use of a digital copy of copyrighted material meets fair use by using guidelines, or after obtaining permission for its use.  For additional information on copyright, fair use, and permissions,see the Olin Library DUguide on Copyright and the Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office Website.

Further Suggestions:

  • Password protection of a course page strengthens a fair use determination.
  • Link to articles in full text databases if possible, and if the licensing agreement permits it.
  • Generally, material found on Web pages is considered copyrighted though it may never have been registered. Permission to use such material should be sought from the author. Otherwise, a link should be provided to the desired material.
  • Electronic copies should be removed when they are no longer being actively used for a class. A page containing copyrighted material should never be accessible when the course is not offered except as a short-term expedient to assist students who are finishing up incompletes.

The electronic copying and scanning of copyright-protected works for course pages are unsettled areas of the law which may be addressed by the Supreme Court or in future revisions of the copyright law.