Copyright and Course Materials

Course Materials in Trunk/TUSK
Instructors may elect to place copyrighted materials necessary for course instruction in a course management system, such as Trunk or TUSK.

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Instructors 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) Is the material already available electronically via a library subscription?

If the library subscribes to the material electronically, you are strongly encouraged to provide a durable URL, rather than upload a scanned copy of the document. See instructions by library: Ginn, Hirsh Health Sciences, Tisch, Webster Vet.

5) Does your proposed re-use fall under “fair use?” Review the Fair Use page for help on conducting a four factor analysis.

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you may upload (or, in the case of #4 create a direct link to) the material to Trunk/TUSK. In almost every case (public domain material need not be cited), and 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, for a fee. If you have exhausted #1-5 and cannot obtain permission to reproduce the material, you may not use the material.

If uploading material to Trunk (see this video on uploading), be sure to choose the appropriate Copyright Status on the drop-down menu. Additionally, you are strongly encouraged to use the Description box to include some additional information regarding your selection. For example, if you chose the option “Material is subject to fair use exemption,” the Description box would be an ideal place to document your fair use analysis.

Print Reserves
Print reserve services are likewise covered under fair use provisions of the copyright law.

For information on placing items on library reserve, see:

Course Packs
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., trunk, TUSK) 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.