Find out how you can legally and ethically use copyrighted and library content in your academic research, instruction, essays & writings, and creative projects. Legal disclaimer: this copyright guide is meant for informational & educational purposes only.
This page will assist you in understanding how to legally and ethically reuse others' content in a closed online classroom (e.g., Canvas, Blackboard). Some resources provided are K-State specific, but many are general and can apply to the majority of closed online classrooms in the U.S.
The content on this page is based on the Framework for Analyzing any U.S. Copyright Problem, which has been modified and adapted specifically for the reuse of content in closed online classrooms.
This framework is designed to work through any copyright question faced by any individual when it comes to reusing others' content in the United States. Links to resources and tools provided.
1. When in doubt, link it out!
If possible, provide a link to the resource rather than include a copy of the resource in your closed online classroom. That way, you don’t have to worry about copyright concerns, because you aren’t reproducing the content.
If providing a link to a journal article or electronic library resource, either provide the DOI or a permalink for link stability.
A succinct explanation of how to determine if a chart, table, graph, or other depiction of data has copyright protection in the U.S.
3. Use Creative Commons Licensed (CCL) Content
Find content with Creative CommonsLicensing(CCL). CCL enables authors to establish a set of licenses or permissions that determine how others can use their work. Creative Commons (CC) doesn't replace copyright, but it does make it easier to determine how someone can use a particular work.
For example, all the licenses require attribution, which is as simple as including an in-text citation and/or attribution to the source in a reference list. See the caption below this image for an example of an in-text citation/attribution.
K-State Libraries has subscribed to a number of streamed resources for faculty and instructors to use in their online classrooms.
5. Rely on the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act
Specifically for display and performance of copyrighted works.
i.e., For showing not for downloading
Online education exception
TEACH Act also known as Section 110(2) of the U.S. Copyright Act
More restrictive than 110(1), the face-to-face education exception, specifically for dramatic works (e.g. film, opera, play).
Use only the amount needed to complete your educational objective when using videos and dramatic works.
Use screen capture technology when you want to copy portions of videos, such as DVDs and blu-rays (see resources on Screen Capture Technology below).
When embedding content, such as from YouTube, you do not have to rely on TEACH Act or any other exemption; the YouTube license gives you permission to embed, so long as those permissions are set by the user who uploaded the video.
See the checklists below for assistance when checking for TEACH Act compliance.
Image adapted by Rachel Miles
from four images (1, 2, 3, 4), CC0
Instructors at any nonprofit educational institution can use these checklists when determining whether they can use copyrighted works in their closed online classroom. Two checklists are provided, one for use of dramatic works (e.g., films) and one for use of nondramatic works (e.g., music, poetry, literature).
K-State instructors & faculty can use these checklists when determining whether they can use copyrighted works in their closed online classroom. Two checklists are provided, one for use of dramatic works (e.g., films) and one for use of nondramatic works (e.g., music, poetry, literature).
Screen Capture Technology Resources
(for recording or copying portions of video content, e.g., DVDs, blu-rays)
Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act, commonly known as the fair use provision. It is the most used and litigated exception in U.S. copyright law. It is ambiguous, but it is also flexible and favors educational and scholarly uses.
Use the fair use evaluator tool in order to better understand the four factors of fair use and make your own evaluation of your use of a copyrighted work. The tool generates an optional PDF of the evaluation that can act as documentation for your records.
7. Request permission
Be sure to specify that the content will be used in a closed online classroom that requires authentication and available only to the students officially enrolled in the course.
Be sure to archive all permission letters, even if it's just an email granting you permission.