UNCG Students with World Flags UNCG: Students UNCG Festival UNCG: Students

Using Materials in the Classroom: A Checklist

U.S. copyright law offers fairly broad protection for instructors who want to use copyrighted materials in a classroom setting, although some differences exist between what is permitted online vs. what can be done face to face. You have a variety of options for including your preferred materials as part of your course. Please answer the following questions to help you determine how to proceed.

There are two steps. The first involves determining if the item is subject to copyright at all, while the second will help you decide whether your use of copyrighted material is likely to be considered a permitted—or "fair"—use.

No

Question/Heading

Answers
0

Is it...

An original work "fixed" in a tangible medium (e.g. paper, canvas, magnetic tape, digital recording, etc.), including literary works; musical works and accompanying words; dramatic works and any accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; motion picture and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works.

  • Yes
  • No
1

Has the item been published?

  • Yes. By the Federal Government or by one of its employees as part of his/her official duties.
  • Yes. By some other company or individual (in physical OR digital form).
  • No. It was never published.
  • I'm not sure.
2

Answer:

Materials created by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are considered to be in the public domain immediately upon creation. This is not necessarily the case, however, for materials created by state or municipal governments.

Material that is in the public domain can be freely used and distributed without penalty. However, you should be on the lookout for things like footnotes, illustrations, and other addenda to public domain works (in new print editions, for example) that may be subject to copyright. Also, keep in mind that new performances of public domain musical or dramatic works are subject to separate copyright for the performance.

3

Was it created...

  • By an individual whose name and date of death are known?
  • By an individual whose name and date of death are NOT known?
  • By an individual using a pseudonym?
  • As a work for hire (by an employee of a company)?
3a

Is the individual....

  • Still alive?
  • Dead for less than 70 years?
  • Dead for more than 70 years?
3b

Was it created...

  • Less than 120 years ago?
  • More than 120 years ago?
4

Was it published...

  • Prior to 1923
  • Between 1923 and 1963
  • Between 1964 and 1977
  • Since 1977
  • I'm not sure.
5

Answer:

This material is probably in the public domain.

Material that is in the public domain can be freely used and distributed without penalty. However, you should be on the lookout for things like footnotes, illustrations, and other addenda to public domain works (in new print editions, for example) that may be subject to copyright. Also, keep in mind that while the print version of a musical score may no longer be subject to copyright, a recording of that same score may be under a separate copyright..

6

One more question:

Does your published item contain a copyright notice, and was its copyright renewed twenty-eight years after the original date?

  • Both are true.
  • Neither or only one of these is true.
  • I'm not sure.
7

One more question:

Does your published item contain a copyright notice?

  • Yes.
  • No.
  • I'm not sure.
8

Answer:

This page will offer some tips on how you can determine the copyright status of your materials. You can start the checklist again when you know for sure.

9

Answer:

Your material is probably subject to copyright. You can learn more about U.S. copyright law here.

You may still be able to use the material in your class even if it is copyrighted. Please answer a few more questions.

What do you want to do?

  • Display material in a face-to-face class (show movies, slides, etc.)
  • Display material in an online environment (movies, audio, slides, etc.)
  • Make and distribute copies of material (online or print copies)
2-0

What do you want to do?

  • Display material in a face-to-face class (show movies, slides, etc.)
  • Display material in an online environment (movies, audio, slides, etc.)
  • Make and distribute copies of material (online or print copies)
2-0a

Answer:

In general, display/performance of copyrighted materials in a face-to-face classroom is considered fair use as long as:

The materials were recorded off the air within the past ten days or otherwise legally purchased or borrowed (no bootleg copies, etc.).

AND

The material is being displayed by a teacher or student in a physical classroom for an educational purpose (not for entertainment purposes) at a nonprofit educational or governmental institution.

Do you have additional questions?

2-1

Is the item you want to use...

  • An article?
  • A book or chapter from a book?
  • A poem?
  • A play?
  • Multimedia?
2-2art

Is the source...

  • A UNCG online database?
  • A legitimate publicly-available website?
  • A print copy from the library or other source?
  • Material not available at UNCG?
  • Material that you wrote yourself?
2-2book

Is the source...

  • A UNCG online database?
  • A legitimate publicly-available website?
  • From UNCG's print collection?
  • Material that you wrote yourself?
  • Out of print?
2-2poem

Is the source...

  • A UNCG online database?
  • A legitimate publicly-available website?
  • A print copy?
  • Your own copy?
  • Material that you wrote yourself?
  • Out of print?
2-2play

Is the source...

  • A UNCG online database?
  • A legitimate publicly-available website?
  • From UNCG's print collection?
  • Your own copy?
  • Material that you wrote yourself?
  • Out of print?
2-2multi

More specifically, is it...

  • An image?
  • Audio?
  • Video?
  • Something else?
2-3data

Answer:

You may provide your students with a link to this item. Contact the University Libraries if you need additional assistance.

Unless you obtain written permission from the copyright holder, posting a digital copy (PDF, MP3, etc.) of the item on Canvas (or elsewhere) violates the terms of use for the licensed database and should be avoided.

Do you have additional questions?

2-3web

Answer:

You may provide your students with a link to this item.

Unless you obtain written permission from the copyright holder, you should not download the item and post it to Canvas (or elsewhere) nor should you post any other material taken from the website.

Do you have additional questions?

2-3res

Answer:

You may place the item in Print Reserves (where a physical copy will be available within the library). If the item meets fair use guidelines, you may place it in eReserves (provided the material used falls within the guidelines for fair use as determined by the University Libraries). A good rule of thumb is one chapter or ten per cent of a book.

You might also contact the University Libraries; we may be able to help you get clearance, find a reasonable substitute item from our licensed content, or assist you with public domain or Creative Commons resources.

Do you have additional questions?

2-3res2

Answer:

You may place the item in Print Reserves (where a physical copy will be available within the library). If the item meets fair use guidelines, you may place it in eReserves (provided the material used falls within the guidelines for fair use as determined by the University Libraries). It may be possible to justify using a larger proportion than usual of a book if the work is out of print.

You might also contact the University Libraries; we may be able to help you get clearance, find a reasonable substitute item from our licensed content, or assist you with public domain or Creative Commons resources.

Do you have additional questions?

2-3con

Answer:

Contact the University Libraries; we may be able to help you get clearance, find a reasonable substitute item from our licensed content, or assist you with public domain or Creative Commons resources.

Do you have additional questions?

2-3pers

Answer:

You may place the item in Print Reserves (where a physical copy will be available within the library). If the item meets fair use guidelines, you may place it in eReserves (provided the material used falls within the guidelines for fair use as determined by the University Libraries). It may be possible to justify using a larger proportion than usual of a book if the work is out of print.

You may have additional rights to distribute copies, depending on the agreement you signed when you published the article. If you are unsure, check SHERPA/RoMEO or contact your liaison librarian. You might also contact the University Libraries; we may be able to help you get clearance, find a reasonable substitute item from our licensed content, or assist you with public domain or Creative Commons resources.

Do you have additional questions?

2-3img

Is the source...

  • A UNCG online database?
  • A legitimate publicly-available website?
  • Another source?
2-3aud

Is the source...

  • A UNCG online database?
  • A legitimate publicly-available website?
  • A CD, LP, or other physical item owned by UNCG?
  • Your own copy of a CD, LP, or other physical item?
  • Your own copy of a digital media file?
2-3vid

Is the source...

  • A UNCG online database?
  • A legitimate publicly-available website?
  • A DVD, videotape, or other physical item owned by UNCG?
  • Your own copy of a DVD, videotape, or other physical item?
  • Your own copy of a digital media file?
2-4

Answer:

You may place the item in Print Reserves (where a physical copy will be available within the library). In some very limited cases, you may be able to place a digital copy online.

A better option, however, is to try to find the item you need or a reasonable substitute using one of UNCG’s licensed databases or a Creative Commons title.

This guide details some of your options with respect to streaming media; the University Libraries may be able to get your title licensed if it is not currently available or advise you on other options. You could also contact the copyright holder and try to obtain written permission to use the item.

Do you have additional questions?

Disclaimer: This site presents copyright guidelines and resources but should not be considered legal advice.