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Provides a general introduction to copyright, fair use, copyright ownership, copyright for instructors, and useful resources.

Can I Use That?

As an instructor, there are a variety of ways you can use copyrighted material for teaching without having to ask permission - the trick is discovering which exceptions to copyright are most applicable to your situation. I recommend that you review the Framework for Copyright Analysis tab to help sort out your options when deciding how you can use the resources you want in your classes. However, these are the exceptions that are most applicable for instructors.

A common question is whether it is better to link to online library resources in your course management system (such as Blackboard or Canvas),or upload an article. Due to our contracts with database vendors, it is better to link to the article rather than uploading the PDF directly to your course site. Additionally, linking directly to the resource you need for your class helps the ASU Library know how that resource is being used, which is one of the ways we make decisions about our collection. You can also use ASU Library Resource Organizer to include content in your course.

A note on Perusall: Unfortunately, these contracts also prevent uploading articles from library databases for use with Perusall, for the same reasons as above. However, you can use openly licensed materials, or evaluate whether your use is fair with content that is not provided in library databases.

Sharing a link to freely available online content, or using the embed codes provided by a platform (such as YouTube or Twitter) is usually fine. As an instructor, you should avoid linking to anything that is obviously infringing - a movie that's currently showing in theaters on YouTube, for example - so that you can avoid giving the impression that copyright infringement is acceptable.

All Teaching Environments:

Public Domain (links to University of Minnesota Libraries) - A work is in the public domain if its copyright term has expired, or if it has never been covered by copyright (such as works authored by the U.S. Government). Works in the public domain may be used for any reason by anyone since copyright does not apply.

Creative Commons - There are a wealth of resources that are distributed under Creative Commons licenses, which already grant permission for a variety of uses. Most are applicable for educational purposes. Openverse has a collection of websites where you can find Creative Commons-licensed works. 

Fair Use - the Fair Use exception needs to be determined for each particular use. However, the ASU Library Course Resources Copyright Policy provides some guidance for common scenarios for classroom use. While these are specifically for course reserve, they would be equally applicable to other course materials.

In Person Classes Only:

Classroom Use Exemption (included in Section 110(1) of Copyright Law) - this only applies to in-person, face to face instruction in a classroom at a non-profit educational institution, and allows for the performance or display of any copyrighted work without seeking permission. Playing a DVD or CD for a class (in whole or in part), singing a song together, or holding up purchased or borrowed copies of a book or artwork would be permitted under this exemption. It does not apply to making or distributing copies or to online instruction.

Online/Distance Education Only:

TEACH Act (included in Section 110(2)) - The "Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization" Act allows instructors to perform or display copyrighted works in distance education environments. However, there are a number of restrictions - NOTE: The TEACH Act does not apply to MOOCs or the Global Freshman Academy - see Copyright and MOOCs for more information.

Additional Teaching Resources

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.