Skip to Main Content
SUNY Brockport logo


Basics of copyright rules, restrictions, and permissions for students, faculty and staff.

Copyright for faculty

Change in Policy and Practice for Online Instruction

When online classes were first scheduled through the college, a review of Fair Use and the TEACH act, as well as emerging policies from other institutions, led us to a liberal policy. However, based on a more current review with new administrators and current practice among some of our peer institutions,  Drake Memorial Library’s policy is that physical material (works on DVD , Blu-ray, CD, VHS tape, vinyl, print book, microform, etc.) must have a license or copyright permission before we can convert the entire work.

Fair use will continue to allow faculty to use small portions of works, including up to a chapter of a book, in an online setting.



Class Format Matters!

Courses at SUNY Brockport can be offered in one of three formats:

  • Face-to-face
  • Hybrid
  • 100% On-line

The amounts and types of copyrighted material, and the forms in which you can use them, vary between Face-to-face/Hybrid and Fully On-line.There are exceptions to copyright guidelines to make it possible for faculty teaching students who are distant and possibly asynchronous, to assure that their class experience is comparable to that of students who meet with their professor, even if it's only one or two meetings a semester. Materials that would normally be viewed within a classroom setting, such as a section of a movie or piece of music, may be eligible for conversion to a digital format for use in an on-line class. Contact your campus Copyright Liaison, Pam O'Sullivan, for further guidance.

What is the TEACH Act?

The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act makes it possible for instructors to use a wider variety of formats in distance learning environments, and qualifying institutions have greater latitude in storing, copying and digitizing materials. 

This act is meant to allow a greater range of materials to be used in on-line and distance education classes.  If you are teaching in a classroom, this legislation does not apply; you will follow the guidelines under Fair Use.


According to the Copyright Clearance Center, in order for copyrighted materials to qualify for use under the TEACH Act, the following criteria must be met:

·         The institution must be an accredited, non-profit educational institution.

·         The use must be part of mediated instructional activities.

·         The use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class.

·         The use must either be for ‘live’ or asynchronous class sessions.

·         The use must not include the transmission of textbook materials, materials “typically purchased or acquired."

Course Packs

Some faculty like to use course packs for a variety of reasons. However, unless the material you included is:

  • The faculty member's own work to which he/she retains copyright;
  • Open source material, and identified as such within the course pack
  • Material not under copyright, such as:
    • Items published before 1923 and in the public domain
    • U.S. government publications

you must obtain permission to use each item (journal article or part thereof, book chapter, images, charts, tables, etc.). Drake Library does not offer this service for you, nor can you generally use library funds designated to purchase materials for your department.



Attached to this page is a document provided to us by a lawyer who works with libraries and copyright, which spells out in more detail the limitations you face putting together a course pack, and the copyright protections behind those limitations.: Coursepacks and Copyright


Streaming Movies and Video

Drake Memorial Library subscribes to several services that provide free streaming access to a variety of materials: STREAMING VIDEOS.

Our librarians would be happy to help you navigate these pages.

Resources for Faculty

Exceptions for Instructors e-tool

This tool can also help you collect information detailing your use and provide you with a summary in PDF format.

Reproduction of Copyrighted Works for Educators and Librarians ‚Äč

Very thorough guide to what can or cannot be done in various classroom situations

Fair Use Checklist

Can help you to determine whether you can use the item without seeking permission.

TEACH Act details.

Another thorough guide on how to use the TEACH Act.

American Library Association Copyright Advocacy Page:

Includes information on use of materials during the current pandemic.


FAQ's for Faculty

If I own a video or DVD of a movie or TV program, can I make copies for my students so they can watch it when they have time?

No; you can either place the copy on reserve or show it in the classroom.  

For online classes, decide how much of the item your students need to view, and go through the Fair Use checklist. If you are unsure of your options, contact the Copyright Liaison. (Pam O'Sullivan,

I recorded a program from television that I'd like to use for a class; can I put it on reserve?

No; you can show it in the classroom within 10 days of recording it.  Congress further states that the recording must be destroyed after 45 days. You may not stream it online.

Can I upload an entire book for my students to access on Blackboard? How many chapters of a published document can I make available to my students on Blackboard?

No, you cannot upload an entire book. In general, Fair Use guidelines would limit you to no more than a single chapter of a book. 

But the book is out of print and not easily available, and I really need it for this course.

Even though the book is out of print, you generally cannot upload the entire item to Blackboard.  However, you could place the book itself on reserve at the Drake Memorial Library.

How can I provide appropriate access to periodical or journal articles for my students on Blackboard?

If the article is available online through one of our subscription databases, you can link to the article from your course page.  This will allow the entire class to view it at their own pace without you having to worry about copyright clearance.

If the article is not available online, but we own the print copy of the journal, the Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery Service can scan it or try to obtain an electronic copy for you.  Please allow a minimum of 2 weeks for this service.  If you have access to a scanner, you can also scan and upload the article yourself, provided you follow Copyright guidelines: no more than 1 article from an issue of a journal or periodical.

Last Updated: Apr 15, 2024 10:08 AM