Skip to main content

Copyright resources

A resource for faculty, staff, and students about copyright and fair use.

What is fair use?

As an educator, you can use copyrighted materials without getting permission to do so if your use of the material fits under fair use. The fair use clause of copyright permits faculty to make and distribute copies of traditionally copyrighted materials without seeking permission from the copyright holder (i.e., author) in certain situations related to teaching, scholarship, and research.

Educators must consider the following four factors to determine if a copyrighted item fits under fair use:

  1. The purpose of use;
  2. The nature of the work used;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the work used; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the work used.

Only you can determine if your use is fair - not a librarian, not a faculty chair, not a dean, not a lawyer - just you.

How do I know if I can use copyrighted materials?

Unfortunately there is no magic formula for determining if you can use copyrighted material without getting permission from the copyright holder. So, how do you know what's okay to do? Run your intended use through our Fair Use Checklist!

The purpose of the Fair Use Checklist is to guide, and document, a good faith effort to determine if your use of another’s work fits under fair use. Retain a copy of the completed checklist should a dispute arise. 

As you complete the checklist, consider the following:

  • relative importance of the four fair use factors (i.e., purpose, nature, amount, and market value)
  • degree to which the author’s rights may be violated by your use

Then, as a whole, make a decision for or against fair use of the material.

After using the checklist

If you reasonably believe that your use of the copyrighted work fits under fair use after completing the Fair Use Checklist, you may:

  • make hard copies and distribute the work in class (and include this Copyright statement as the first page)
  • make electronic copies and distribute the work in your password-protected Moodle or Evolve course page. Do not post material online in an open environment (and include this Copyright statement as the first page)

If you do not believe that your use of the copyrighted work fits under fair use after completing the Fair Use Checklist, you may:

  • work with the CCC Bookstore to create a course pack
  • list the item in your syllabus as a required text for students to purchase
  • work with a librarian to find an alternate resource

Clackamas Community College Library - 19600 Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, Oregon 97045
Reference: 503-594-6042     |     reference@clackamas.edu     |     Circulation: 503-594-6323
Library Hours     |     Moodle     |     myClackamas     |     FAQ
Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, content in these research guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Link broken? Information need updating? Have website feedback? Please email reference@clackamas.edu