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Copyright for Teaching

Find out how you can use copyrighted materials for teaching inside the classroom and online.

Copyright Guidelines for USING LIBRARY MATERIALS in Teaching at ODU

The library purchases, subscribes to, or licenses materials for the nonprofit, educational use of students and faculty. “Fair Use” provisions of Copyright Law and the Teach Act allow faculty to make reading and viewing materials available to students in a classroom, online, or via Canvas -- always check your intended use against the fair use factors (PDF – Links to an external source and may not be accessible)

A good practice for any materials you use is to include a copyright statement:

  • on all materials -- NOTICE: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 US Code)
  • on all Canvas sites that include copyrighted materials: The materials on this course Web site are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.

Permission NOT needed ...

1. If you are making direct links to articles, images, audio, or video available electronically through the Library’s databases.

Many of the Library’s databases offer fulltext materials (including images, streaming audio and video) that you can simply link to, without scanning or saving to your computer.  Saving the pdf or media file to your computer may violate fair use in cases where the library discontinues its subscription or the provider pulls the content.

Direct Links:  For offcampus access, you’ll need to precede the item url with: 

For more information, see Linking to Full Text Articles

Ask a librarian about finding materials online through the Library’s Website.

2. If you are using “public domain” materials, sample exams, lecture notes, government publications, course notes, personal photographs, or other unpublished writings of the faculty member posting materials.

Permission needed...

Copyright permission should be obtained for the following, regardless of whether it is in the classroom or on Canvas:

  1. multiple articles or chapters copied from one book or journal (rule of thumb: do not use more than 10% of a book or journal issue)
  2. articles or chapters used for more than one simultaneous semester
  3. consumable works (standardized tests, exercises, workbooks or other commercially available materials)
  4. student work
  5. any material clearly indicating that permission is required

In addition, permission is required when you want to use the materials repeatedly.

(A signed statement by copyright holder granting permission to use should be retained by faculty member.)


Not all of our E-Books allow multiple simultaneous users. Contact our Acquisitions Coordinator, Tracey Bowry, to find out.

However, it is possible for you to place an e-book on reserve for your class. See our Course Reserves page to find out how to submit a reserve request.

See also the library's guide to using E-Books.


It is best to link to streaming video if available.

Converting vhs to dvd.  If you need a dvd copy of a library-owned vhs tape to show in a face-to-face classroom, ask the library to purchase the dvd.

If no dvd exists for purchase, you may need to contact the copyright owner to get permission to convert.

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