Skip to Main Content

For Faculty: Online Library Resources During the CoronaVirus Crisis: Fair Use?

What You Want to Do May Be a Copyright Violation!

We are starting to get questions about whether we (or the instructors themselves) can scan entire books or chapters?

For over 11 years now, the question on whether faculty members can scan or upload PDF's of chapters or articles and place them behind a Learning Management System Wall (such as a Canvas Course)?  Is it a copyright infringement or not?   The court case that has explored this issue more than any other is known as  Cambridge Univ. Press v. Becker  With your W ID number and Password you can read the March 2, 2020 case decided by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia:

In general, you can use NO MORE than ten percent of a journal issue or ebook and it can be used for only ONE course section.   If you use more than ten percent, then you would be required to pay royalty fees to the publisher..  

This is why we recommend you use Library resources and link to them with the Curriculum Builder external tool.  You then avoid the "fair use"/copyright violation issue that can come up.

NOTE: Above is based mainly on a librarian's presentation I attended at the Charleston Conference in 2016.  As stated above, this can change at any time (as far as the publishers are concerned, most often they consider the 10% to be too much or that the 10% should not apply to an article, poem, short story, etc.  So this can definitely change AT ANY TIME).

Copyright/Fair Use Guidelines from Librarians during the CoronaVirus Crisis