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Copyright & Fair Use for Students

Copyright Scenarios

"Can I scan or copy a large portion of a book on reserve at the library?"

No, this would infringe on copyright. It is acceptable and in line with fair use to scan or photocopy a few pages or even a chapter. If you are unsure what constitutes as a few pages, please check with any of your librarians. An exception would be if the book was written before 1923 because it is now in the public domain and can be scanned or photocopied without limitation and not infringe on copyright.

"Can my club have a screening of a movie on campus?"

It depends. If showing it means your club also discusses the movie in an educational manner and does not charge any admission prices to the screening, then this falls in line with fair use and is acceptable. 

"Can I scan or photocopy an article on reserve since I do not have time to read it at the library?"

Yes, this is for educational purposes since it is on reserve and would then constitute fair use. However, it would not be acceptable to email your copy to other classmates because there might be a copyright-related reason your professor did not post the article electronically to Blackboard. 

"Can I use this image I found on Google for my class presentation?"

Yes, since this is for educational purposes you may use a copyrighted image. However, if you distribute this presentation or post it online, it would no longer be considered fair use. 

"Can I use a film clip as part of my class presentation?" 

Yes, this would fall under fair use. It is for an educational purpose, and only part of the film is being shown in class. However, you could also show the entire film in class if it entered the public domain or if you checked the film out at the library and are showing it for educational purposes only. 

"Can I use copyrighted music in my presentation?"

It depends. There are several criteria that need to be met for fair use. First, the presentation would have to be for educational purposes only. Next, the music would have to be a paid for version of yours. Finally, no additional copies can be made of the presentation. If all these aspects are addressed, then it is acceptable.