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This guide introduces the fundamentals of copyright for the purposes of teaching, writing, and publishing.

Library Material in Courses

Library material can be in used in your course content.  You should follow these best practices when adding resources for students to use.

  • Course content should be provided through Canvas for students to access.  It is password protected, and ensures it is only being shared with those who need it.
  • Linking to course material with a permalink should be used over uploading digital files.  Your Liaison Librarian can assist with providing the proper link to use if you need help.
  • When the material is only available in print, you are able to upload a PDF to Canvas.  You should limit the file upload to print only articles or 1 or 2 chapters per book title.  If students require access to more than 1 or 2 chapters, they will either need to purchase a textbook copy, or borrow it from our course reserves.
  • Videos available via the Library should be provided through a Permalink.
  • Images available via the Library can be uploaded to course material, with the proper citation.

Check out this recording of a workshop that introduces the essentials of copyright for teaching. Topics include copyright basics, in-person and online teaching exceptions, fair use, public domain, and creative commons.

Other Online Content

Material found online such as YouTube videos, documentaries, or other digital content should follow certain procedures for providing access. 


  • A DVD or streaming media purchased should also have a license to show the content purchased by the department using the material.
  • YouTube videos should be linked in the course material.
  • Other types of online material not available via the Library should be checked for a Creative Commons (CC) license or be in the public domain.  Materials that meet this requirement can be linked to course material.
  • Other materials should be evaluated for Fair Use before providing access.
  • Copyrighted materials not falling under Fair Use will need to have copyright permissions obtained to use in course material.  Obtaining copyright permissions can either be asking the copyright holder for permission to reuse or purchasing copyright permissions via the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC).

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or that have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others.