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Copyright Across Campus: In the Classroom

Copying for the Classroom

Single copying for teachers

Single copies may be made of any of the following by or for teachers at their individual request for scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  • One chapter from a book;
  • An article from a periodical, journal, or newspaper;
  • A short story, short essay, or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.

Multiple Copies

Salisbury University has many systems in place help provide access to readings and materials, that you as a faculty member, deem important for your students to have access to. However, there are times when something spotaneously crops up!

Multiple copies (not to exceed more than one copy per student in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for student learning use or discussion; provided that the following three criteria are met:

  • The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity (as defined below).
  • The copying meets the cumulative effect test (as defined below).
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright. An example is "this material may be protected by Copyright law (title 17, US Code)."


Brevity: Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, (usually varies 3-8 pages depending on size of page and type) or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work, whichever is greater.

Spontaneity: The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and the inspiration and decision to use the work.The moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative effect: Copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.

Showing Movies in the Classroom

Photo by Sarah Reld CC-BY 2.0

Faculty members can show movies or TV shows for educational purposes, in their entirety to their students in a “face-to-face” classroom setting, provided that the copy being shown has been legally obtained. This scenario is specifically covered by 17 USC Section 110.

The situation is a bit different for “public viewings” which may take place on campus, but are not part of a particular class. For example, if a student club sent out an open invitation to the rest of campus to come watch a certain movie Friday night. Even if no money was being charged, there may still be a problem if that student club did not have a “public viewing” license to accompany the legally obtained copy of the movie they wanted to show.

In these cases, permission should be sought and obtained from the copyright holder well in advance. And often there is a cost associated with this kind of permission. If you are having difficulty locating the copyright holder, or would like some assistance in requesting permission for a public viewing please contact the Scholarly Communications Librarian, Laura Hanscom.