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Copyright & Fair Use: Classroom Guidelines

This guide provides information concerning copyright in the academic setting.

Classroom Guidelines

RULE OF THUMB: Just because it's technologically POSSIBLE doesn't means it's LEGAL.

All information on this page excerpted from the Library of Congress, Copyright Office, Circular 21.

Additional links:

Single Copying for Teachers

A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for his or her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  • A chapter from a book
  • An article from a periodical or newspaper
  • A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work
  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper

Multiple Copies for Classroom Use

Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion, provided that:

  • The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity 
  • Meets the cumulative effect test 
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright


    Notwithstanding any of the above, the following shall be prohibited:

    • Copying shall not be used to create or to replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works. Such replacement or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts therefrom are accumulated or are reproduced and used separately.
    • There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be "consumable" in the course of study or teaching. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets, answer sheets and like consumable material.
    • Copying shall not:
      • substitute for the purchase of books, publisher's reprints, or periodicals
      • be directed by higher authority
      • be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.
    • No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.

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    In accordance with Fair Use, instructors may use videos in their online classes as long as they do not show the entire movie. Here is an article pertaining to using videos in the online environment.

    Movie Clips and Copyright

    M. P. Baker Library provides access to several databases that allow you to stream videos/movies with proper copyright clearance.