Copyright and Course Materials

Print reserves

Update as of August 2021: Reserves services will return to being available in-person at your school library.

Instructors: Upon request and when legally available, a library at Tufts will purchase and make available an e-book version, which can be readily accessed through Canvas Reading Lists or a proxied link that can be used on a syllabus.

Students who need assistance accessing print texts in an electronic format should contact their school’s library.

Items may be placed on print reserve through the Reading List function as described below, or you can fill out a request form to place items on reserve.

For more information, see:

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 via the library can be added to a reading list in Canvas:

    • After you navigate to your Reading List, you can search for materials that the library provides access to, and add them directly to your list. If you add a physical item, a message will be sent to the library to process the item for 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.

Online Courses

Copyrighted materials can be used in online courses by following requirements from the “Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act” (TEACH Act). In order to qualify¹ –

Institutions must:

    • Be an accredited, non-profit educational institution
    • Have copyright policies and must post a copyright notice on online course materials
    • Have technological measures in place to support compliance with TEACH Act requirements

Copyrighted materials:

    • Must be for a “mediated instructional activity”
    • Must be limited to students enrolled in the class
    • Must be used in live or asynchronous class sessions
    • May not include textbook materials “typically acquired or purchased by students”
    • Only “reasonable” portions of the original work may be used

To see if your use of material falls under the TEACH Act, see this handy checklist.

¹Thanks to Oral Roberts University for this summary of the TEACH Act.