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How to Determine Fair Use

Many students and faculty ask the question, "What is Fair Use?" when writing papers, preparing presentations, compiling course readings, or simply sharing published material with friends and colleagues. The following information will help guide you as you consider your options.

Best Practices For Sharing Copyrighted Material in Canvas

Althought you may be temped to upload a PDF of copyrighted material for students in Canvas, this is not a good practice for the following reasons:

  1. The authors do not get credit when each student accesses the article if one pdf was used, which might impact royalties paid to the authors.
  2. For library licensed material - The library might not know that a resource was heavily used, since only 1 person accessed the article but dozens could read it each semester.
  3. For a graduate-level class, providing a permalink to the article could provide a scaffolded opportunity for the students (and newer faculty) to practice logging in and downloading the article, and would also provide access to the citation information in most cases.
  4. PDFs are not always the best accessible option for students who use a screen reader. If you provide a link to content in a library database, other options such as text audio or HTML format is provided.