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VCCS Copyright Guide: Classroom Use

Thanks to Piedmont Community College for allowing the use of their libguide as the foundation for this libguide.

Instructor Responsibility

Instructors are responsible for maintaining copyright compliance in their course(s). The following information is presented for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

Face-to-Face Classroom Use

Below is a chart of what types of copyrighted materials (not OERs) are allowed in face-to-face classes. Some uses only relate to the display of materials and are based on the Classroom Use Exemption, which requires you to be teaching to a face-to-face (in-person) class. This exemption does not apply to online courses.

If the use does not fall under the Classroom Use Exemption, then you can use fair use or the Educational Fair Use Guidelines. If the use of material falls under fair use, please document your justification.

Material Type Amount Allowed Permission Needed?
Book chapter One chapter may be considered fair use, or refer to the Educational Fair Use Guidelines Yes, if used more than one semester or if the intent is to replace a textbook.
Short story One short story may be considered fair use, or refer to the Educational Fair Use Guidelines Yes, if used more than one semester or if the intent is to replace a textbook.
Journal article One journal article may be considered fair use, or refer to the Educational Fair Use Guidelines Yes, if used more than one semester or if the intent is to replace a textbook.
Film or documentary The entire film or documentary can be displayed. (Not copied or reproduced) N/A
Music The whole song can be played. (Not copied or reproduced) N/A
Image An image can be displayed; copies are generally considered fair use, or refer to the Educational Fair Use Guideline Yes, if used more than one semester.
Student work Whole work Yes
Consumables such as workbooks None Must be purchased by the student
Library resources Whole work Must link to material; refer to Linking to Library Resources Playbook for information on how to link to library resources.
TV Show, recorded by faculty Whole work Can be made available to students for the first 10 days, then it must be destroyed. Repeated use would require purchase or permission.

Blackboard Use

Below is a chart of what types of copyrighted materials (not OERs) are allowed in online classes.

You may choose to follow the TEACH Act, fair use, or the Educational Fair Use Guidelines. If the use of material falls under fair use, please document your justification.

Please keep in mind that you can always link to lawfully posted material from another Website. In fact, this is preferable!

Material Type Amount Allowed Permission needed?
Book chapter One book chapter may be considered fair use, or refer to the Educational Fair Use Guidelines or the TEACH Act Yes, if used more than one semester or if the intent is to replace a textbook. The guidelines suggest seeking permission if more than one chapter/10% of the book is used.
Short story One short story may be considered considered fair use, or refer to the Educational Fair Use Guidelines or the TEACH Act Yes, if used more than one semester or if the intent is to replace a textbook. The guidelines state that works cannot exceed 2,500 words, if a complete work, or not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, if an excerpt.
Journal article One journal article may be considered fair use, or refer to the Educational Fair Use Guidelines or the TEACH Act Yes, if used more than one semester or if the intent is to replace a textbook. The guidelines state that works cannot exceed 2,500 words, if a complete work, or not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, if an excerpt.
Film or documentary Portions are allowed. Refer to fair use or the TEACH Act. It is recommended that permission be obtained, or that the film is purchased in digital form, if available.
Music Portions are allowed. Refer to fair use or the TEACH Act. It is recommended that permission be obtained, or that the music is purchased in digital form, if available.
Image Refer to fair use or the TEACH Act. Yes, if used more than one semester.
Student work Whole work Yes
Consumables such as workbooks None Must be purchased by the student.
Library resources Whole work Must link to material; refer to Linking to Library Resources Playbook for information on how to link to library resources.

 

Do's and Don'ts

Do's and Don'ts
There are few clear unequivocal do's and don'ts in copyright matters. Here are some that might surprise you.

  • Don't feel free to copy and distribute material from a book that is out-of-print. There is probably a copyright owner of the material.
  • Do use any material published in the United States before 1923. This material is in the public domain.
  • Don't copy workbooks, lab manuals or other consumable material prepared for the education market. Do not distribute them in your class or insert them in your Blackboard course.
  • Do show legally obtained videotapes to your classes.
  • Don't plan to show a commercially made videotape to a student group that you sponsor. Even if no money changes hands, a publicly announced showing of a videotaped performance is not permitted (unless it is a videotape of your wedding).
  • Do copy small portions (one cartoon, 1000 words of prose, one illustration or one picture from a book) for distribution to your class or in your Blackboard course, as long as access is limited to enrolled students. But only one time. After that, request permission from the copyright holder.
  • Do use student papers as examples in your class or Blackboard course. Remember, however, that as soon as a composition is committed to paper, the work has copyright protection. Ask students to sign a form giving you permission to use the material.
  • Don't assume that material without a copyright statement attached is unprotected by copyright.
  • Don't assume that material you find on the Internet is unprotected by copyright.
  • Do feel free to create a link on your Web site (or in your Blackboard course) to Web sites on the Internet that will be helpful to your students. Of course you will want the students to be able to see the name of the Web site's creator.
  • Do use articles on your Web site from the VIVA databases (such as EBSCO) licensed by higher education in Virginia. The Linking to Library Resources playbook provides instructions on how to link to full-text articles. 
  • Do not create material in your Blackboard course or on a CD-ROM that uses any combination of audiovisual material, music, text, photographs and illustrations without conducting a fair use evaluation.
  • Do show a videotape of a television program taped by the College in your classroom, and destroy the tape after 10 days. (Additional rules apply.)
  • Don't assume that acknowledging the author of a work created by someone else in your Blackboard course allows you to use material freely. If you plan to use copyrighted material into your Blackboard course, please evaluate each use against the fair use criteria.