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Copyright: Copyright in the Classroom

A guide to understanding copyright laws and applications in the classroom and research.

Online Education and Canvas

General Guidelines:

  • Everything you post online should have a Copyright Disclaimer unless it is in public domain.
  • Generally, exemptions in Copyright Law for Education are applicable for one semester.  If you ant to use the same materials for more than one semester, then you should get a copyright clearance.
  • All course resources should be posted in Canvas and not on external websites.
  • Similarly access to works used for educational purposes must be limited to students in that course.
  • If you want to include articles and books (or chapters) in your Canvas course modules, and they are available online, it is strongly recommended that you provide a link to the resources in the library's database, instead of upload the document directly.  You can link to resources in Canvas through the ARES tool.  See video HERE, or contact the library Circulation desk at 443-885-3477 or Ms. Renise Johnson, Circulation Librarian at renise, (x1723).

Specific Guidelines:

Scanning and Posting Books:

  • You can not scan and post an entire book nor related resources like lab and test books, study guides, or other supplementary materials. Instead place the book on reserve at the library, request the library to order a digital copy, or find an alternative OER textbook.
  • You can scan and upload about one chapter or 10% of a textbook to Canvas and make sure that it is not accessible to anyone not enrolled the course.  Place a copyright notice on the first page of the scanned documents notifying students that they cannot redistribute the work to anyone else.

Scanning and Posting Articles:

  • If the article is in print only, you can scan and upload a copy to your Canvas course page.  The scanned item should have a Copyright Disclaimer to discourage students from redistributing to other people, which represents and infringement of copyright.  Putting this disclaimer on mitigates any liability to the university.

Displaying Videos and Audio Recordings Online:

  • You cannot stream a DVD in online learning environments.  
  • You cannot digitize a DVD and stream it online, even if for educational purposes
  • Faculty should not rely on personal accounts to display videos online.  This could be a violation of re-transmission restrictions in the service's license or user agreement.

Reading from Copyrighted Works During online Lectures.

  • You can read non-dramatic literary works during an online lecture.


  • You can photocopy an article and distribute it to students for one semester.  If you want to use the same article in succeeding semesters you will need copyright clearance.
  • You cannot photocopy an entire textbook.  Recommended action  Place the book on reserve at the library, request the library to order a digital copy, or find an alternative OER textbook.
  • Photocopies of Textbooks can not be put on reserve, unless it is out-or-print.
  • You can photocopy a public domain work like Moby Dick or King Lear because these works are in public domain, even if it is from a recently published edition.
  • Coursepacks. Documents composed of numerous articles and chapters from different sources generally should get copyright clearance.

Images, Video and Music in the Classroom

  • You can display images, moving pictures, and audio recordings in whole or part in a physical classroom for criticism or other educational purposes.
  • You cannot display films and sound recordings for entertainment purposes.
  • You cannot digitize a DVD and stream it online, even if for educational purposes
  • You cannot stream a video through a Zoom, Google or other meeting platform, even if for educational purposes
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