In the teaching context, it may be useful to take the following steps to help qualify a use as fair and protect yourself and the University from infringement liability:
Classroom exceptions may apply and allow your use.
Canvas and Library course reserves each provide a password-protected environment to allow posting of curricular materials for enrolled students.
Boston College policies for use of Canvas and Library course reserves comply with U.S. Copyright Law, and are developed in accordance with the American Library Association guidelines for Applying Fair Use in the Development of Electronic Reserves Systems and the Association of Research Libraries' Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.
Principle One of the Code states that “It is fair use to make appropriately tailored course-related content available to enrolled students via digital networks.”
Fair use can be applied to all types of copyrighted materials such as text, images, audio, or video, as long as the material is legally acquired. The fair use exception to the copyright holder’s exclusive rights requires a flexible balancing test based on the particular context in each instance. A good faith effort must be made to assess overall whether a use is fair by considering
Educational use favors a fair use outcome, but satisfies only the first factor. The following have become standard practice to assist a fair use determination:
In cases where a large mount of material is required and fair use cannot be justified, permission may be needed. The Course Pack Coordinator at the college bookstore will obtain publishers' permissions and create a course pack which students can purchase from the bookstore.
Face to Face Teaching
In addition to the fair use doctrine, copyright law includes a specific exemption for face-to-face teaching activities. Section 110(1) of the Copyright Act permits instructors and students in a non-profit educational institution to perform or display a copyrighted work in the course of face-to-face teaching activities, provided certain requirements are met:
This guide is designed to provide basic, general information about copyright, and does not constitute legal advice. The links to third party sites in this guide are provided for your convenience. Boston College does not take responsibility for the content of these other sites. If you have a question about a specific copyright issue not addressed by this guide, the Libraries encourage you to seek further advice.
If you have questions about this guide or a basic copyright issue encountered in your work, and need more help please contact John O'Connor, Scholarly Communication Librarian, or the subject liaison for your department.
If you have a question about the University’s policies regarding copyright, please contact the Office of Technology Transfer and Licensing at 2-1682. If you have a question that requires the advice of an attorney, please contact the Office of the General Counsel at 2-0960.