FAQ: Copyright and Course Materials

How should I, as an instructor, share copyrighted materials with students in my course?

In Canvas, use the Reading List Tool to link to content accessible from Tufts Libraries. In general, it is always best practice to link to electronic content (as opposed to uploading directly), to attribute it, and to use only the portions that are needed for your purpose. Read more about course materials in Canvas.

If material is under copyright and not available from Tufts Libraries, can I still use it in my course?

Performance or display of a work in the course of face-to-face teaching activities at a non-profit educational institution, as well some instances in online courses, is permitted under Section 110 of the Copyright law (short summary of Section 110). Fair Use may also apply. If your use does not apply to these situations, request permission from the copyright holder in order to reuse the material.

My course is entirely online, does that limit the materials I can share with students?

The TEACH Act has established allowances for using materials during “mediated instructional activity” in online courses at accredited, non-profit, educational institutions, such that “reasonable” portions of original works may be performed or displayed, limited to class participants during the class duration, with the exclusion of textbook materials “typically acquired or purchased by students.” Read more about copyright and online courses.

Can I show a video or film in class?

Showing videos from physical media (i.e. DVDs) in the course of face-to-face teaching activities at a non-profit educational institution is allowed under Section 110 of the Copyright law (short summary of Section 110). For online courses, the TEACH Act allows for showing reasonable and limited parts of an audiovisual work (see the TEACH Act checklist).

The Tufts Libraries subscribe to several streaming video services which provide access to a variety of films & videos that can be used in class. If the film you need isn’t available through one of those services, get in touch with your school’s library for assistance in locating a copy that can be used in class.

Can I use copyrighted images in my lecture slides?

Displaying images in the course of face-to-face teaching activities at a non-profit educational institution is allowed under Section 110 of the Copyright law (short summary of Section 110). For online courses, the TEACH Act allows for display of works such as images in in amounts similar to typical displays in face-to-face teaching (see the TEACH Act checklist).

Images must be legally acquired copies or copies made under Fair Use. You might also look for Creative Commons licensed images or use images from Artstor, which are licensed for use in classroom teaching.