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Copyright Guide

This guide helps CSCU faculty and staff understand copyright law and apply this understanding to exercise their rights to make academic use of materials.


Welcome to the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities Copyright Guide. This guide provides information to help CSCU faculty and staff understand copyright law and apply this understanding to exercise their rights to make academic use of materials. If you would like to jump directly to guidance concerning a specific category of materials, visit the Guide's What can I do with... section.

Nothing in this guide should be construed as legal advice.

  • Copyright Basics - Describes the rights of copyright, duration, what is covered.

  • Making an Analysis for Use of Materials 

  • Using Copyright-Free and Licensed Materials
  • Using Copyrighted Materials - This page provides general guidelines for in-person and online classes involving different types of copyrighted materials.  
    • What Can I Do With… - Material-specific guidelines for use.   
    • Using Materials Without Permission – There are several situations in which materials can be used without permission. These include: 
      • The Classroom Use Exemption – Faculty have a broad right to perform or display any copyrighted work in the course of face-to-face teaching activities in a classroom without seeking the copyright owner’s permission or paying any fee. For the purposes of this exemption, to “perform” a work means to show a film or video, play music, recite a poem, act out a play, or other like performances. To “display” a work means to show a copy of it either directly or by means of a projector or any other similar system. However, this exemption does not include the right to make or distribute copies of, or to make derivative works based on the works that are performed or displayed. This means that the creation of coursepacks is not permitted under this exemption (please see Fair Use).  

      • Fair Use - The fair use doctrine provides a right within copyright law for use of copyrighted material for purposes such as criticism, comment, teaching, scholarship, or research when certain criteria are met.  This page provides information about how to conduct a fair use analysis and has links to checklists and tools to help. 

      • The Four Factors

      • Making and Documenting Decisions with Checklists and Best Practices

      • The Classroom Guidelines 

      • TEACH Act  - The “Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act,” commonly known as the “TEACH Act,” facilitates and enables educators to use copyrighted materials for online distance education that includes the participation of any enrolled student, on or off campus. Its primary purpose is to balance the needs of distance learners and educators with the rights of copyright holders. However, the TEACH Act comes with responsibilities and certain restrictions. 

  • Obtaining Permission to Use Copyrighted Materials - It may not be possible to use copyrighted material in your classes without permission. This page provides links to model permissions letters and other information that is useful when getting permissions (or considering it!). 
  • Course Materials on Commercial Sites - Describes what note-sharing sites are, issues associated with them, how to educate students about them, and how faculty and staff can get their materials removed from the sites when copyrighted course materials have been posted without permission. 
  • More Resources - Links to tools, websites, and books for further reading
  • Get Help