Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Copyright Resources: Copyright in the Classroom

This guide is an introduction to copyright and fair use for academic institutions.

Exceptions for Instructors eTool

From the Copyright Advisory Network, the Exceptions for Instructors eTool can help you find out if your intended use for copyrighted material meets the requirements set out in the law.

Stanford University's Fairly Used Blog

Loading ...

Fair Use in the Classroom

"Publishers and the academic community have established a set of educational fair use guidelines to provide “greater certainty and protection” for teachers. While the guidelines are not part of the federal Copyright Act, they are recognized by courts and the Copyright Office as minimum standards for fair use in education. A teacher or pupil following the guidelines can feel comfortable that a use falling within these guidelines is a permissible fair use and not an infringement."
(Academic and Educational Permissions," from the Copyright and Fair Use website published by the Stanford University Libraries.

Guidelines (from the Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians, Circular 21, rev: 11⁄2009, U.S. Copyright Office)

I. Single Copying for Teachers

A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for his or her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

a A chapter from a book

b An article from a periodical or newspaper

c A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work

d A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper

II. Multiple Copies for Classroom Use

Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion; provided that:

a The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity ... and,

b Meets the cumulative effect test ... and,

c Each copy includes a notice of copyright

* "Academic and Educational Permissions," from the Copyright and Fair Use website published by the Stanford University Libraries.

Online Instruction (the TEACH Act)

The TEACH (Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization) Act, which is part of the Copyright Law, addresses the means by which educational institutions may use copyrighted materials in distance education -- including on websites and by other digital means -- without permission from the copyright owner and without payment of royalties. Restrictions apply. Some useful resources are:


Quick Guides to Copyright Compliance in the Classroom

Fair Use in Practice