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Educational Use

Under the fair use rule of copyright law, a person may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission.

For Printed Materials:

  • a single chapter from a book (5% of work for in-print; 10% of work for out-of-print)
  • a single article from a journal issue or newspaper
  • a short story, essay, or poem from an individual work
  • a single chart, diagram, graph, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, journal, magazine, or newspaper

For Multimedia Materials:

‚ÄčMultimedia works are created by combining copyrighted elements such as movies, music, sounds, graphics, and text. It is recommended that you use only small portions of other people's works.

Suggested limits:

  • Movies: up to 10% or three minutes, whichever is less
  • Text: up to 10% or 1,000 words, whichever is less (The limits on poetry are more restrictive)
  • Music: up to 10% of an individual copyrighted musical composition, and 10% of a copyrighted sound recording. Using up to 30 seconds of music may be done without gaining permission from the copyright holder.
  • Photos and Illustrations: based on the CONFU guidelines, "a photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety, but no more than five images by one artists or photographer may be incorporated into any one multimedia program. From a published collective work, not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, may be used."

(For more information about CONFU please see the Photocopying & Copyright tab)

Distributing Copies of Materials:

  • Copies made should not substitute for the purchase of the material
  • A copyright notice should be placed on the first page of the copied material. As a minimum, the notice should state: "Notice: This material is subject to the copyright law of the United States."
  • Provide only one copy per student
  • Using the copied materials for more than one semester requires copyright permission from the copyright holder

Citing Materials from the Internet:

  • Cite the source
  • If you use any of the information on your personal webpage, either ask permission of the copyright holder or link to the copyright holder's site
  • If you receive permission to use copyrighted materials, keep a copy of the correspondence for your records

Citing Multimedia:

  • Incorporate only portions of copyrighted works when creating your own multimedia projects
  • Cite the source of all copyrighted material that is used
  • Place a copyright notice on the opening screen of a multimedia program and on accompanying print material that states (recommended practice): "Certain materials in this multimedia presentation are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and are restricted from further use."


Fair use exemptions of the copyrighted materials expire at the end of two years. To use the multimedia project beyond two years requires the permission of the copyright holder.

Best Practices in Canvas

Posting an item to Canvas does not exempt an instructor from copyright regulations. Instructors are encouraged to follow copyright best practices, listed in order of preference:

1.     Link to your article from a library database (see below for more information)

2.     When all else fails, complete a Fair Use Evaluation, scan your article, and then upload it to Canvas

3.     Fair use does not allow for repeated use over multiple semesters. For repeated use you will have to contact the publisher and request permission (see the Requesting Permissions tab on this guide).

Additional Resource: Using Course Management Systems: Guidelines and Best Practices for Copyright Compliance

Please see the following chart for examples of items that are allowed and not allowed:

Table: Best Practices in Canvas.  Contact us if for details.  Amanda Zerangue 940-898-3747 or Adrian Shapiro 940-898-3769

(Please note that these are suggested guidelines based on one interpretation of the U.S. Copyright Law. If in doubt, it is always advisable to error on the side of caution and complete a Fair Use Evaluation.)

Persistent LinksIf you copy a database link from your Internet browser into Canvas, that link will eventually stop working because it is a dynamic, non-static link. To eliminate this problem, most database suppliers now offer persistent links for their articles. Persistent links (also known as persistent URLs) are stable links that will consistently take students to a particular full-text article in a library database. 

For assistance see PURLS 

Note: to ensure access by off-campus users, use persistent links.