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Copyright and Fair Use: Compliance Guidelines for Canvas

Resources to help with questions of copyright and fair use in an academic setting.

Want to post library materials to Canvas?

Link to materials in online databases instead of posting pdf files, if possible.

When viewing an article in a database look for a persistent link or Permalink. Copy and paste this link into Canvas.

For specific examples from various databases, check the Linking to Library Resources Guide.

Helpful Tool

Use the Exceptions for Instructors eTool to guide you through the educational exceptions in U.S. copyright law. It helps to explain and clarify rights and responsibilities for the performance and display of copyrighted content in traditional, distance and blended educational models. 

TEACH Act in a nutshell

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002 permits instructors of non-profit educational institutions to display audio-visual and other works for distance education courses in a manner comparable to what would be permitted in a live, face-to-face classroom. Under the TEACH Act, instructors may make available online for student use: 

  • full performances of non-dramatic literary or musical works (i.e., no plays, musicals, operas, etc.); or
  • "reasonable and limited portions" of dramatic audio-visual or other types of works.

The material must only be made available to students enrolled in a particular course (e.g., under the password-protected auspices of a course-management system) and only during the time period (e.g., quarter, semester, summer session) of that particular course. In addition, the material must be accompanied by a notice to students that it only be used in accordance with copyright law and the copyright policy of the institution. 

*It is important to note that the TEACH Act only covers use of materials during class time such as a movie clip or poetry reading. It does not cover materials an instructor wants their students to read, study, watch, or listen to outside of class. For that, we must continue to rely on fair use. 

For more information about the TEACH Act and how it applies, see this overview from Columbia University

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Claire Walker Wiley
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