Skip to main content

Copyright, Fair Use, & Teaching: Copyright Basics

The guidelines on this page have been created by the NSCC Library for use by faculty in response to FAQ's about providing students access to course materials.

The purpose of this guide is to assist NSCC faculty determine which resources can be used legally and ethically for teaching and learning. Topics covered include US copyright law, fair use, and the TEACH Act, 17 U.S.C. §110(2).  This guide will provide information and tools to help faculty understand, navigate, comply with, and leverage policy and guidelines in order to provide students with affordable access to high-quality resources, whether it be for a course reading, lecture content, or supplementary materials in the course management system.

Important Disclaimer

The content contained in this guide is for informational purposes only, is subject to interpretation, and does not constitute legal counsel or legal advice. Please consult an attorney for specific situations.

Plaigarism & Copyright

While ethical scholarship requires that references are properly cited, avoiding plaigarism is not the same thing as copyright compliance. When copying or otherwise using large portions of a copyrighted work, you still must determine whether a fair use argument can be made.  If not, you will need to get permission to use the work; simply attributing the source of the material is not sufficient.

In a nutshell

Copyright are the legal protections that allow authors or copyright holder to control the use and reproduction of their work. The purposed of copyright, derived from  Article I, §8 of the United States Constitution, is to provide a safe environment in which creativity, learning, and progress can thrive.

Using someone else's published work for educational purposes is often acceptable, but you should still consider copyright law whenever you are using someone else's work in your teaching.  This guide will help you understand and navigate copyright law, leverage fair use, and employ other strategies when incorporating published materials into your teaching.

NOTE: Using a work ("copying") can include, but is not limited to: photocopying; scanning (to print, to file, or to email); printing out; making a PDF; copying, downloading, or uploading a digital file; and converting analog format to digital format.