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Library Resources and Services-Columbus Region: Integrity: Copyright/Copywrong

Copyright in the Classroom

Copyright can be a confusing issue in many cases. Is it alright to show a video in class? What about uploading it onto Blackboard? The library can offer some assistance in dealing with intellectual property law.

Note: Librarians are not lawyers. Our suggestions are guidelines based on our understanding of current permissions. If you need detailed or official legal advice, please seek a lawyer.

With that warning out of the way, the library can offer guidelines on what constitutes fair use in the classroom for using material or putting it online. If there is an issue with needing to get rights, we can offer some assistance in what may need to be done or who to contact to get the permissions needed.


Guidelines on Fair Use

The North Central Ivy Tech Library in South Bend has a section of the Library website, under Help and citing sources, that collects copyright links for students and faculty. It's got useful links to help explain to students what copyright is, as well as guides for faculty.

Second Thoughts

Some common practices you may want to double-check as regards "fair use":

  • Showing a video as a "reward" to a class, if it is not relevant to the course material, is not fair use
  • Using music to spice up a presentation, if it is not relevant to the course material, would not be fair use
  • If you use a student paper from a previous course as an example to other students, get permission to do so from the student author.
  • Avoid reusing the same material for a course. While fair use initially, get permission to use the material if you plan to keep using it.