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Copyright Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I digitize a book and post it on Blackboard?

A good rule of thumb is that you may digitize less than 10% of a book for Blackboard.  

Can I post an article PDF in Blackboard?

No, instead link to the article in the library database.  This follows copyright guidelines and lets us know the journal is being used.  If the article you want to use is not available from a library database, you may use the article for 1 semester.  After that you need to request permission to reuse the article.  See more information, below.

How do I link an article from the library database to my Blackboard course?‚Äč

Find the durable link of the article in the database (this is not always the URL at the top of your browser). You will also want to ensure that students can access this link from on and off campus by making sure it begins with: For more information, visit our guide on creating durable links:

Can I stream an entire video to Blackboard?

Yes, sometimes. Below are common questions related to streaming videos to Blackboard. Contact the library at for more information.


Are there streaming films available in the library I can add to my Blackboard course? 

Yes. You can browse for streaming films from our "Big Red Box" or directly within our Films on Demand database (see links below).


I have a DVD I use for in-person classes. Can I stream this?  

Due to copyright restrictions, this is not always possible. Please contact as soon as possible to determine your options for making a DVD accessible on Blackboard or finding an alternative resource, as this process may take several weeks. 


What if I don't find a film that I want to use in my online course available through your streaming databases? 

If you do not find the film you need within our databases, please contact as soon as possible to determine your options for making a film accessible on Blackboard or finding an alternative resource, as this process may take several weeks. 


I recorded my synchronous, in-person class on Zoom. In that class, I showed a film. Can I post this on Blackboard? 

No. Posting a recording that includes a viewing of a film would violate copyright guidelines. Contact for alternatives. 


I found a feature film on YouTube that I'd like my class to watch. Can I post the link in Blackboard? 

We don't recommend this. Not only could that film be posted in violation of copyright guidelines, it could be taken down at any time and your students would lose access. We recommend you browse for streaming films from our "Big Red Box" or directly within our Films on Demand database (see links below). 


How many semesters can I use a copyrighted item under "Fair Use" before I have to get permission?

Generally only one semester is considered a fair use if the library does not own or subscribe to the resource. Contact your librarians for more help in evaluating course materials and fair use. 

I'm using copyrighted materials in my classroom... isn't ALL use on an academic campus considered "Fair Use"?

No!  While using copyrighted material for an educational purpose is in favor of the Fair Use doctrine, each case needs to be considered using the four factors (purpose, nature, amount, market effect) of Fair Use as well as considering the transformative properties of the use.  The transformative property relates to the character of the use mentioned with the purpose factor.  Peggy Hoon describes "transformative use" as a use that "adds new content or meaning to a work, thereby creating a different sort of work, for example, a work of parody or a critical review" (41).

Hoon, Peggy and Cheryl Davis.  "Fair Use and Licensing."  The Center for Intellectual Property Handbook. Ed.  Kimberly Bonner.  New York:  Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2006.  41.

What is Fair Use?

Fair Use is an exception to the rights held by copyright owners to be used in the pursuit of research and scholarly progression.  In order to consider a use of a copyrighted work to be Fair Use, the following four factors to be considered are:

                1 – the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

                2 – the nature of the copyrighted work;

                3 – the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

                4 – the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Is my use a "Fair Use"?

The best way to determine if your intended use of a copyrighted item is covered under Fair Use, is to use a checklist, like this one by Kenneth D. Crews: 

How do I know if the item I am using is protected by copyright?

Learn how to investigate the copyright status of a work by visiting the U.S. Copyright Office website or reading their publication on investigating copyright status at the links below: 

How do I get permission for a copyrighted work? 

There are different ways to do this depending on the piece of work and the owner of the copyright protecting it.  More information may be found below:

What is the TEACH Act?

The TEACH Act is the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act, enacted by Congress in 2002. For more information about the TEACH act, visit this page created by the University of Texas Libraries:

How do I copyright my...?

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form.”  Copyright registration is voluntary, although you must first register your work f you wish to file a lawsuit against another party for infringement.