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Copyright on Campus: Home

Information and resource guide for those interested in how copyright affects teaching, learning, research, and scholarly publishing.

More COVID-19 Resources

Scholarly Communications Librarian

Perry Collins's picture
Perry Collins
Library West 257

Getting Your Course Online During COVID-19

Copyright Considerations During COVID-19


Transitioning your course online? Uploading new materials to Canvas? In general, you have leeway under U.S. Copyright Law to make resources available to support student learning and equitable access. A few tips:


The Libraries are here for you.

Our Course Reserves team can support you in getting course materials (including readings and videos) online, purchasing and licensing materials where necessary, and reviewing relevant copyright issues. Subject specialist librarians can also help identify relevant materials available in the Libraries' collections or freely online without risk of copyright infringement. If you need to upload or link to materials for students to access, these are great places to start.


Use what's out there.

The Libraries collections include millions of books, articles, streaming videos, and other materials to support your teaching without copyright concerns. You can also take advantage of videos, images, and other content made available online under Creative Commons licenses, which allow for reuse with attribution. If you're using Canvas for the first time, you may want to check out Canvas Commons, a collection of shared resources that can be easily adapted for your course.

Leverage fair use.

Fair use becomes even more critical in an online learning context where other exemptions in U.S. Copyright Law are more constrained. Fair use is an explicit part of copyright law that allows all of us to repurpose portions of copyright-protected works in contexts such as education and scholarship. Questions to ask as you upload materials for your students or create online lectures include:

  • How does this material support my goals for student learning, and how am I contextualizing or transforming the material through lectures, assignments, etc.?
  • Am I using only enough of the material to meet these goals? This may range from a few pages to an entire work in some cases.
  • How does this public health emergency impact students' access and how might this consideration weigh in favor of fair use? Is there a feasible way for students to access the material at little or no cost? Or is copying and sharing critical to their success in this course? 
Fair use supports accessibility.

The University of Florida relies on fair use and other areas of copyright law to prioritize access to course materials for students with disabilities. Learn more about campus resources to make your course accessible and inclusive.

Lower risk with simple steps.

There are a few ways to share materials while easily lowering your risk of copyright infringement:

  • Link to content: In general, linking to online resources (where you can identify and trust the source) falls within the scope of fair use.
  • Limit distribution: When sharing materials, limit circulation to enrolled students. Remind them that the material is protected by copyright and shouldn't be distributed further.
  • Mind the time: If you are posting lectures, readings, etc. to Canvas that contain copyrighted material, only make these available as long as necessary to meet the needs of your course. In the future, you may decide that fair use no longer to applies to some material.

Fair Use Essentials

Free-to-Use Essentials


This guide is designed to provide basic, general information about copyright, and does not constitute legal advice.  The links to third party sites in this guide are provided for your convenience.  The University of Florida does not take responsibility for the content of these other sites. 

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