Copyright and Course Materials
Course Materials in Canvas
Instructors may elect to place copyrighted materials necessary for course instruction in a course management system, such as Canvas.
Materials that are available electronically via a library subscription can be added to a reading list in Canvas:
- If you haven’t used reading lists before, you must first add the Reading List tool to the Canvas course site
- Once you’re in Reading Lists, you can search for materials that the library provides access to, and add them directly to your list. If you add a physical item, it will be automatically processed for your course reserves. If it’s an electronic item, a link will be created in the reading list directly to the item.
If your materials are not available through the library, then you should consider the following questions:
1) Is the material in the public domain?
2) Do you have permission from the copyright holder (who may or may not be the author) to reproduce the material?
3) Is the material covered by a Creative Commons license that permits reproduction?
4) Does your proposed re-use fall under “fair use?” Review the Fair Use page for help on determining this.
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you may upload the material to Canvas. As an issue of academic integrity, you should be sure to include a statement of copyright and authorship.
If none of the above options apply, and you still want to use a copyrighted work, you should attempt to obtain permission from the holder of the copyright. The Copyright Clearance Center, for example, can license certain copyrighted material, likely for a fee. If you have exhausted #1-4 and cannot obtain permission to reproduce the material, you may not use the material.
Print reserve services are likewise covered under fair use provisions of the copyright law.
Items may be placed on print reserve through the Reading List function as described above, or you can fill out a request form to place items on reserve.
For more information, see:
- Ginn Library: Placing Materials on Course Reserve
- Hirsh Health Sciences Library: Reserve Request Form
- Tisch Library: Course Reserves
- Webster Vet Library: Placing Materials on Course Reserve
Printed course packs sold through third parties (like a copy center) are generally given more rigorous scrutiny under copyright law, because they are being sold on a for-profit basis. Although exceptions to copyright (such as fair use) may still apply, the strong preference of Tufts University Libraries and the University Counsel’s Office is to utilize a course management system (e.g., Canvas) and link to digital content If you must assign a course pack of readings outside of library reserves, and if including a small portion of a book or other work does not qualify under fair use under applicable guidelines, appropriate permissions should be obtained, either directly from the copyright holder, or through the Copyright Clearance Center, which brokers rights on behalf of rights holders. You can also utilize a course pack producer who acquires rights holder permission as part of its services (e.g., XanEdu). Each item in the packet must include a notice of copyright (e.g., “Copyright 2000 by Academic Books, Inc.”) even if the material falls within fair use provisions, but not if the material falls within the public domain.