Skip to Main Content
Banner Image

Copyright Guide

This guide will inform you of copyright and issues pertaining to the use of copyrighted materials. It will not supply legal advice.

Fair Use MYTHS

MYTH: Everything on the Internet is “Free” for educational use
MYTH: If I buy/borrow a copy of_______, I can share it with whomever I want
MYTH: Showing a movie is perfectly o.k. in online and on-ground classes I can use my own or rent it
MYTH: Copyright applies to non-educational uses; educators are exempt
MYTH: If I get an article from ILL, I can use it every single semester.
FACT: Copyright Law applies to all types of educational uses, and Fair Use is not cart blanche to use anything you want

University Policy

University Policy concerning copyright and computer usage

University owned or operated computers and copy machines are provided for use to faculty, students, staff, and authorized associates. All faculty, students, staff and associates are responsible for using University resources in an effective, efficient, ethical, and lawful manner.

  • Resources owned by the University, including computers and copy machines, are not to be used for non-University related activities.
  • Software use must conform to copyright laws and licensing agreements.

An individual's computer use privileges may be suspended or restricted immediately upon the discovery of a possible violation of these guidelines, or other campus policies. Individuals who violate these guidelines will be subject to sanctions outlined in the University's Student Handbook, Employee Handbook, or Academic Honor Code. All such cases will be forwarded to the appropriate officer of the University for action.


For more information, please see the Computer Usage Guidelines in the Student Handbook, or the Employee Handbook, both of which are available online.


Copyright and Fair Use: General Guidelines


  • quotations of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment
  • quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations
  • use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied (think Saturday Night Live)
  • summary, with brief quotations, in a news report
  • reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy
  • reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson that does not impact potential market for the work
  • reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports
  • incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported

Fair Use does NOT include

  • copying an entire textbook or portions of a textbook to avoid paying for it
  • scanning and distributing an entire article for non-academic purposes
  • copying and reusing an article every semester for a class
  • copying music, software, articles, books, eBooks, etc. and placing it/them on a shared network drive or in a course shell on the internet for downloading or using
  • copying a movie from one format (DVD, Blu-Ray etc.) and reformatting it in another (DVD, Blue-ray, MP4, etc.)
  • Streaming a movie from an individual account for use with a class