Faculty and instructors are responsible for ensuring that the course materials they post online comply with copyright law. To demonstrate the highest level of good-faith compliance with copyright law when sharing electronic course materials with your students, follow these steps:
Access to content must be restricted to authorized users and cannot be openly discoverable on the web. Use Camino (Canvas) to share course materials because it has functions that limit access to students enrolled in a class or specifically designated by the instructor.
This example wording contains the basic requirements: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the use of copyrighted materials including copying and distribution. Fair use (Section 107) allows for limited use of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright owner. Individuals using copyrighted materials in excess of fair use may be liable for copyright infringement.
Santa Clara University Library recommends five ways to share electronic course materials in order to comply with copyright law:
Link to licensed electronic materials already purchased by the Library
Link to openly accessible materials and open educational resources
Post materials that favor fair use
Obtain permissions from copyright holders
Credits: Content derived from and inspired by University of Washington's Step-by-Step Guide to Copyright Compliance
The University Library licenses a variety of electronic materials for research and course materials use. To find out if your readings are already licensed by the Library:
Creating links to online resources instead of copying the files is one way that faculty and instructors can ensure copyright compliance.
SCU students, faculty and staff are identified as SCU users by the IP addresses of their workstations. From off-campus, SCU users will be prompted for their SCU network login to access resources when they are routed through the libraries' proxy server. To create stable links to journal articles from Camino (or another website) that will work appropriately both on and off-campus, you need to construct links to include this routing information.
To route requests through the proxy server, you need to add the following prefix to the beginning of the article's stable link:
NOTE: The proxy prefix is only needed for SCU restricted journals and databases. Adding the proxy prefix to non-licensed resources may prevent access.
In most cases, you can navigate to the pdf, and copy the web address that displays in the browser's address bar (e.g. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v408/n6809/full/408184a0.html)
Testing the web address in another browser (e.g. Safari or Firefox instead of Chrome) will tell you if the web address is stable, or if it includes code that makes the reading only accessible for your particular browser session.
If it doesn't work, there are additional steps that you can try:
NOTE: The link created using the DOI sometimes directs people to a choice of sources for the article, not all of which are available to SCU users
Library staff are available to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Credits: Content adapted from the University of Washington Libraries
SCU Library encourages the exploration and use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) to reduce the cost burden of textbook and course materials for students. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation describes OERs as "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge."(1)
Go to Santa Clara University Library's guide on Open Educational Resources for more information and links to online open-access textbooks.
Material in the public domain can be scanned and used for courses without copyright restrictions. In general, government publications and older materials are in the public domain. Cornell University offers an excellent chart listing copyright terms and when materials pass into the public domain.
Fair use is a facet of copyright law that allows copyrighted works to be used in certain ways without the copyright holder’s explicit permission. Fair use guidelines provide a way for individuals to study, expand, reinterpret, and otherwise make use of copyrighted material in a way that does not infringe upon the copyright protections guaranteed to “authors and inventors” by article 1, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
Fair use is not easy to define and is subject to interpretation. While there is no exact formula for determining fair use, understanding the basic principles of fair use can help students and faculty use copyrighted material responsibly and effectively.
To determine whether use of a work is within fair use, the law calls for a balanced application of four factors. The four factors are purpose, nature, amount, and effect. These four factors come directly from the fair use provision, Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act .
One guideline to follow is this:
|If all 4 factors favor fair use||it is probably fair use|
|If 3 factors favor fair use||it is more than likely fair use|
|If only 2 factors favor fair use||it may be fair use but there is a risk involved|
|If only 1 factor favors fair use||it is not fair use|
Consider each factor carefully before sharing copyrighted materials as course materials on Camino.
Is the use for a nonprofit educational purpose such as criticism, comment, teaching, scholarship or research?
Concepts to consider:
Is the work published or unpublished?
Concepts to consider:
Is the amount used a relatively small portion of the total work?
Concepts to consider:
Does use of the work have a effect on the market value of the works and does it deprive the copyright holder of revenue?
Concepts to consider:
If the answer to 2 or fewer of these questions is no, then you may be at risk for violating copyright compliance. If you are unsure if use of a work is fair use, you have a few options:
Ask for help from the Library with obtaining permissions
The fair use evaluator can help you to determine if your intended use is fair.
If a reading is not licensed or in the public domain and the use is not fair, instructors must get permission from the copyright holder in order to use it as a course reading. There is one primary service on campus that helps faculty with obtaining permissions.
I want to post a pdf of a scanned chapter from a book published in 1985 to my course page in Camino. It’s legal to do that because my course page is password-protected and only my students can see it, right?
Putting a scanned article or chapter behind a password-protected system like Camino is not necessarily a protection against copyright infringement. At least 3 or more of the four factors of the work and its use still need to favor fair use.
I can upload a copy of my own article that I published in the Journal of Religious Studies as a pdf in Camino because I wrote it, right?
Not necessarily. It depends on the contract you signed with the publisher.
I’m teaching a class that is entirely online for distance learners.
Distance learning is generally covered by the TEACH Act. This is an article about online learning and copyright considerations.