Note: This guide is not intended to be legal advice, nor should it be considered such. It is designed to provide general information about copyright to consider while researching and teaching. Neither Touro College Libraries nor the staff are legal counsel to any college/university party.
When shifting your class from in-person to online, copyright needs to be considered — but the good news is that most of the rules that apply to in-person teaching at Touro also apply online. Some quick tips:
For more information, please see:
Copyright and Fair Use from the Touro College Libraries
“Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online” from the University of Minnesota Libraries
Who can give copyright advice?
Librarians can give advice but are not lawyers
What can you share with students?
You can share open educational resources (or works in the public domain)
You can link out to freely available online resources that aren’t openly licensed
You likely have a good fair use argument for sharing all-rights-reserved materials with students online in a restricted setting - for example, in your learning management system which is behind a password
You can give your students a persistent, proxied link to resources in the libraries’ databases - ask a librarian if you need help
Copyright is a form of protection provided by US laws to creators of content, or those who generate “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished; in print, electronic, online, or any other format. Copyright exists to foster creativity, giving certain exclusive rights to writers, musicians, artists, and other types of creators, the exclusive rights to their works.
Fair use is an important part of U.S. copyright law as it provides a means of balancing users’ needs against the exclusive rights of copyright holders. Fair use is not a straightforward concept, rather, any fair use analysis must be conducted on a case by case basis, considering factors and the individual circumstances at hand; it does not guarantee against a claim of copyright infringement.
The Four Factors Determining Fair Use:
The following chapters are from the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries (ARL):
Copyright in online learning and teaching environments is governed by the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act), which was passed in 2002. Because of the different way of sharing materials in an online class, the TEACH Act applies to the transmission of materials online. There are many requirements to meet for an action to be protected by the TEACH Act, but other exemptions, like Fair Use, might apply better or more easily.
Many libraries have published TEACH Act Toolkits to guide instructors in using copyrighted materials ethically, responsibly, and legally. The original TEACH Act Toolkit, from the Louisiana State Libraries, provides TEACH background and explanations, checklists, guides, vocabulary, and commonly asked questions. Touro College librarians are also available to assist in assessing the applicability of the TEACH Act to your situation.