Skip to main content

Copyright on Campus: Compliance Guidelines for Faculty

This guide describes important components of copyright law and their relevance to the academic environment.

Copyright Compliance

Copyright law is intended to protect the creative and intellectual property of a work's creator. Its counterpart, fair use, aims to identify circumstances in which the unauthorized use of protected material is permitted. The compliance guide for faculty examines specific situations and provides guidance for professors as they seek to use materials for educational purposes.

Options for obtaining permission to reproduce protected material are provided on this page.

For more extensive information, select your intended use below:

Option A: Permission and Publishing through a Clearance Center

Full-service copyright permission agencies secure clearance for the use of protected materials and provide digital or printed coursepacks directly to students...  read more

Option B: Permission From a Clearance Center - Copying On Campus

Obtain permission to use copyrighted material through a clearance service and then print copies on campus...  read more

Option C: Direct Permission - Copying On Campus

Request permission by writing directly to the rights holder and then printing copies of the material on campus...  read more

Alternatives to Requesting Permission

Due to cost or time constraints, professors sometimes choose to use materials for which permission is not required or to provide access in ways that do not constitute duplication.

Professors who desire an alternative to pursuing copyright permission may consider the following options:

  1. Provide links to material that is freely available on the open Web.
  2. Determine whether the library offers the desired material through its subscription databases; provide a link to the article's persistent URL.
  3. Provide only materials that a fair use analysis indicates may be used without permission. Select new materials each term.

Contact Ryan Library for help conducting a fair use analysis.

    More about permission and publishing from a clearance company

    OPTION A (continued)

    In nearly every case, collections of articles, book excerpts, and similar readings require copyright clearance. By using a company like University Readers, professors (or their department assistants) may request clearance for all of the protected materials they wish to use for a given course in a given semester. The clearance company provides an itemized list of clearance costs so professors can approve the list or replace expensive materials with less expensive options. Professors specify their preferred format (electronic or print) for the materials, and students purchase the materials directly from the clearance company. The purchase price includes clearance and printing or access costs. Neither professors nor department assistants have to manage the process of collecting money from students or delivering photocopies of the material.

    Those who wish to pursue this option for providing articles, book chapters, or other excerpted material for their classes should use the links above or visit the ITS resource page for simple instructions.

    More about combining a permission clearance service and copying on campus

    OPTION B (continued)

    Use a service like Copyright Clearance Center to obtain written permission to copy or otherwise distribute protected materials; University Readers offers simple permission services for those who prefer not to use the optional publishing services. Payment for clearance must be made before proof of permission will be provided. This means that professors or departments carry the initial financial burden of securing copyright clearance. Proof of permission must then be included in any request for copying of the protected materials on campus, and each copied item must include a notice of copyright.

    Collection of payment from students for copying and clearance costs is the responsibility of the professor or department.

    PLNU Reprographics may produce course packs or multiple copies for classroom use according to the following guidelines:

    • Copyright protected materials: Proof of copyright clearance, including the total number of copies permitted, for the current academic term must be provided prior to copying. In the case of individual articles or excerpts allowed under the fair use doctrine, a fair use analysis checklist should accompany the request submitted to reprographics.
    • Original materials (unpublished): Materials must be entirely the original work of the course professor (for example, lecture notes or study guides). Unpublished student work may not be copied without written permission from the student author/creator.
    • Original materials (published): Proof of clearance from the copyright holder (or proof that the professor retains copyright) must be provided. Published authors generally do NOT retain copyright for their work.

    Published workbooks, study guides, standardized tests, and other resources considered "consumable" may not be copied for any reason.

    More about seeking permission directly from the rights holder

    OPTION C (continued)

    Professors may wish to write directly to a copyright holder to negotiate permission for use of protected material. In some cases, doing so may decrease the cost of obtaining permission; however, this approach to requesting permission is likely to be extremely time consuming.