4.2 Instructional Use of Copyrighted Materials

When members of the PLU community use learning resources (e.g., books, articles, films, video or audio clips, images) for teaching or learning purposes, they must do so within the parameters of at least one of these four categories defined and addressed by federal legislation:

  • Public domain. Works created by the federal government (or by contract with the federal government), works explicitly dedicated to the public domain by the author, works for which there is no copyright protection (e.g., facts or ideas), or works for which copyright protection has expired may be used freely without permission from the author(s).
  • TEACH Act. If a copyright-protected work is germane to a course, access is limited to students enrolled in the course, and the work is obtained and used legally, then an original electronic source or an electronic copy of that source may be used within the course in part or in whole without the author’s permission. Works developed expressly for online educational use, not legally obtained or made, or that are full-text postings of print materials are prohibited by the TEACH Act.
  • Fair use. A core value arising from but not fully defined in copyright legislation, fair use permits a film to be shown, a live performance to be given, or a copy to be made IF the item is not consumable (e.g., standardized test), a copyright notice and a prescribed disclaimer are included, the copy is made from a source that is acquired legally, and only a reasonable portion of the work germane to a learning objective of the course is used.
  • Licensed with release. Permission for use of the work is expressly acquired, usually for a fee, when the extent or nature of use would otherwise detract from the value of the copyrighted material (e.g., a course text or institutional subscription to a journal).

Additional tests and limitations within each of the categories above may apply. Detailed guidelines for the application of these categories to specific materials are available in the Faculty Handbook (Section V., Part 1, pp. 110-111) and through such professional associations as the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries.