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Copyright Guidelines for Posting Documents to Blackboard

Documents are no longer copyright protected, and therefore can be freely used, if:

  • Published prior to 1923
  • Published between 1923 and 1963 without a copyright notice
  • Published between 1923 and 1963 with copyright notice on work and not renewed with the U.S. Copyright Office
    • Note: The lack of online documentation with the U.S. Copyright Office does not mean the copyright was not renewed

Fair Use provisions and the Teach Act (2002) enables certain educational uses such as Blackboard posting, providing:

  • Limited portions of the work are made available at any one time
  • Use must be part of mediated instructional activities
  • Availability must take place during a period of time relevant to the context and duration of a typical class session
  • Use must be limited to students enrolled in the course
    • Do not share work or distribute via email
    • Ensure the Blackboard site is password protected
  • No item posted can be required reading in your course from within the last three years
  • No posting of textbook materials typically purchased or acquired by students is allowed or considered fair use
  • No posting of protected materials developed specifically for online use
  • No use of copies are allowed that are not directly captured from the licensed original

We recommend:

  • Locate resources to use for coursework through full-text resources owned by the library system and link to them from Blackboard
  • Hyperlink to those resources from your digital syllabus
  • Reconsider the need to digitize a print resource and find a licensed full-text alternative
  • If you need to copy a resource:
    • Perform a fair use analysis, see:
    • If deemed fair use, make a digital scan of a reasonable portion of the original
    • Ensure a copyright notice is on the digital copy
      • The University Libraries will assist obtaining content if a request for a digital copy is placed
      • You can only post documents obtained through a delivery system if you or the library system has purchased the licensed original (meaning it is owned and the copy comes from the owned copy)

All works not considered fair use require copyright permission. Obtaining copyright permission is the responsibility of the instructor posting on Blackboard.

We recommend:

  • Get permission from the rights-holder