VCU Libraries provides faculty, researchers, and students with informative resources that can help guide them in the responsible use of copyrighted works and encourage them to exercise their fair use rights. VCU Libraries makes every effort to assure the accuracy of this information but does not offer it as counsel or legal advice. For legal advice, please consult the Office of University Counsel.
Avoid copyright concerns by minimizing the amount of copyrighted works you use and copy:
If you want to share course materials with students through Canvas, consider whether or not your use:
If you want to share performances or displays of copyrighted works with students during a class session, consider whether or not your use:
You may have heard of a copyright "rule" that says sharing one book chapter or 10% of a work is not copyright infringement. However, this is not a true rule you can rely on. It is not part of copyright law or recognized by courts, and it not a substitute for a fair use analysis, which must always be done on a case-by-case basis.
If you want to share course materials with students under fair use:
Once you have made the decision to share copyrighted works with students:
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: The Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 10) governs the rights granted to owners of copyrighted works. In some circumstances, educational institutions may provide copies of copyrighted works to students under fair use. The materials on this course site are only for the use of students enrolled in this course to be used for purposes associated with this course, and they may not be posted online or shared with others outside of the course.
If materials you want to share with students are not available through the library, are not freely available online, and do not fall under fair use, you will need to get permission from the copyright owner.
Barnes and Noble @ VCU partners with XanEdu to help faculty create print and digital course packs. There is no cost for faculty to use XanEdu. XanEdu also helps faculty license permissions for copyrighted materials. Instead of asking students to purchase an entire book, faculty may be able to get permission to use only the relevant chapters in a course pack, lowering the total cost for students. Learn more from XanEdu's website:
Face-to-face instruction exceptions (17 U.S. Code § 110(1)) allow the performance and display of copyrighted works (such as performances of musical works or displays of videos/images) without permission when all of the following requirements are met:
This exception does not apply to making or distributing copies of copyrighted works. When making or distributing copies, instructors must rely on fair use or seek permission from copyright holders.
The TEACH Act (17 U.S. Code § 110(1)) was enacted to allow certain uses of copyrighted works in virtual instruction that are comparable to uses allowed in face-to-face instruction. Virtual instruction is when a course is taught entirely online or when components of a face-to-face course are taught online (for example, through Canvas). Transmitting performances or displays of copyrighted works to students during a class session may be authorized under the TEACH Act.
The TEACH Act does not apply to materials shared online for asynchronous reading, viewing, or listening. Instructors will need to rely on fair use to share these materials.