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For Faculty

Copyright and Fair Use Defined

Phillips Library librarians cannot give legal advice on what is permitted or prohibited in terms of photocopying or providing resources to your class. We have gathered here some of the most important documents dealing with copyright. Below you will find a list of FAQs and responses from AU faculty, librarians and administrators. 

Copyright: The exclusive legal right, given to an the originator of the work to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

Fair Use: Allows that use such as criticism, comment, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright . Four factors in determining 'fair use':

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work




Educational Fair Use in Emergencies

As educators rapidly transition to online and hybrid learning opportunities, copyright-specialist librarians across the United States have drafted a 3.5 page statement on educational fair use in an emergency situation that offers some general guidance:

  • Most educational use of texts would be considered fair use at this point, though that would need to be reconsidered should online learning extend indefinitely.
  • Faculty can scan and share multiple book chapters or articles with their students via Moodle, as this provides fair use access limited only to the relevant enrolled students.
  • E-book chapters are available for faculty and students to download or print, in many cases, and all are available to read online. We may also be able to scan and send chapters needed from the library's print collection, within time and availability constraints.
  • On the other hand, video is still a special case, so educators are limited to sharing available licensed content: students and faculty have remote access to items in our multimedia collections.
  • In addition, some vendors are freely offering online content or are willing to arrange for free/discounted access.

For assistance or with any questions, please contact us!