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Faculty and students have a compelling and immediate need for accurate information about what works they may or may not use in their courses, whether the class meets in person and/or online. May articles, chapters, images, photographs, or artwork be uploaded onto a course website or copied multiple times as a handout or as an attachment to an email? Is it lawful to stream movies or music to online students or play it in class? May student papers or works be used as examples for the class? What may a student use in their assignments or projects? Are their conditions? What works are copyrighted? What is copyright infringement? How is that different from plagiarism? When and how do you get permission for what you want to do?
Such fundamental questions should always be in mind when selecting 3rd party materials for use in teaching. Finding a valuable resource is not that helpful if you can’t use it. Since virtually every course on campus incorporates someone else’s copyrighted material, knowing what you can use, or at least how to find that out is tied to everything we teach here.
This section of the site presents some basics of copyright law, discusses fair use, explains the different treatment between physical classrooms and online sections, and provides information on how to get permission, when appropriate.
Know this: Copyright applies to all kinds of materials, regardless of format, even if it is on the web and even if there is no copyright notice. That is precisely why you should read the Copyright Basics and the Fair Use sections, in particular.