Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Copyright Guide

Teaching Tips

The following "Teaching Tips" are recommendations for the best approach to using copyrighted material for instructional purposes, especially in an online context


  • When possible, link to licensed material available from the Library.

  • If freely and legally available online, provide a link to the resource instead of making a copy of it.

  • Limit material used to the amount which you reasonably need to teach the course. Commonly accepted amounts include:

    • single articles or chapters

    • several charts, graphs, illustrations, or images

    • parts of performances

    • small excerpts from a musical score

  • When using content created and marketed primarily for the course, such as textbooks, workbooks or anthologies, limit the amount used to brief excerpts. 


  • Limit access to students enrolled in the class and to administrative staff. 

  • Terminate access to the material at the end of the class term.

  • When posting audio and video clips, use a streaming method which prevents copying and redistribution of media by students.


  • Include appropriate citations and attributions to any sources used.

  • Include any copyright notice present on the original on the copy.

  • Students should be informed about their rights and responsibilities regarding their own use of course materials. Include the following notice on the course website or on the content:  

"Copyright Notice"

"The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the use of copyrighted material. Copying, displaying and distributing copyrighted works may infringe the owner's copyright, if it exceeds fair use as provided by section 107 or any other provision of the copyright law. Any use of computer or duplicating facilities by students, faculty or staff for infringing use of copyrighted works is subject to appropriate disciplinary action as well as those civil remedies and criminal penalties provided by federal law." 

These tips are based on suggestions provided in the "Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials" section of the Copyright Crash Course, and the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries from the Association of Research Libraries.

Blackboard Linking

The best way to incorporate material from the Library’s databases into your Blackboard course is by linking to it. When you link to the Library’s licensed electronic resources for classes or research, you do not have to worry about copyright or fair use because you are not uploading a new copy of the content. Also, since access to these resources has already been paid for, no further permission is needed to use them. This option saves you time and effort because you do not need to scan and upload documents onto a course website. Individual licensing agreements may vary, but it is usually acceptable to provide links to these resources on your course website. 

Basic Linking Instructions   

Creating links to content from Library databases works the same way as creating a link to any other URL in Blackboard, with one exception. Since most of our databases are subscription based, anyone attempting to open a link from off-campus will need to log in. To be sure that the link works properly for students when they are off campus, you must add the link to the library’s proxy server at the beginning of the hyperlink.  

An example of how this works appears below.

  Gale Virtual Reference Database

  • Gale provides a “stable” URL to the article, located at the end of the article.

  • Copy this link and paste it in the URL box for the weblink in Blackboard. 

  • Add the Proxy server link at the beginning of Gale’s link.  

  • The entire link will appear as below (the proxy server link is highlighted in blue):

The staff at COLTT are also able help you with questions related to Blackboard linking. For assistance, contact Faculty Support at