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Faculty Services: Copyright Liaison

The library develops and provides services to support faculty teaching and research needs.

Copyright and Fair Use in Instruction

The University urges all its employees to adhere to applicable copyright laws and to understand the conditions under which these laws apply. 

Faculty may use copyrighted materials in some areas of instruction under the fair use exemption.  Whether and how copyrighted materials may be used under this exemption depends on several factors, including:

  • where the materials will be used (i.e. online or in the classroom)
  • how much of the material will be used 
  • by whom (enrolled students)
  • for what purpose
  • for how long will the material be made available
  • protected under what conditions from abuse (appropriate firewall security)

To facilitate understanding of, and adherence to, copyright law and the limits of the fair use exemptions by faculty, the University has appointed a member of the faculty/librarian cohort to act as Copyright Liaison.

The liaison’s role is to advise faculty and librarians on the conditions of fair use and copyright with regard to instruction materials.  In addition, the liaison is available to help instructors understand the permissions process, and to discuss the elements of a permissions letter, and provide a sample.

For some of the best current information on the issues related to copyright and fair use, please consult the following, available in eBook and/or print format through the Fitchburg State University Library:

Aufderheide, P. & Jaszi, P. (2011). Reclaiming Fair Use: How to put balance back in copyright. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.  [print (KF3020.A984 2011, 4th floor) and eBook  format]

Butler, R. C. (2011). Copyright for Teachers and Librarians in the 21st Century. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc. [print (KF2995.B885 2011, 4th floor)]

Crews, F. D. (2012). Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators: Creative strategies & practical solutions. Chicago, IL: American Library Association. [print (KF2995.C74 2012, 4th floor) and eBook format]

Sun, J. C. & Baez, B. (2009). Intellectual Property in the Information Age: Knowledge as commodity and its legal implications for higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishing. [print (KF2979.S86 2009, 4th floor)]