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J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library


An information guide to U.S. Copyright Law as it applies to the academic environment.

Making and Distributing Copies (in the classroom)

The U.S. Copyright Law section on "fair use" (17 U.S.C. sec. 107) states that the use of copyrighted materials in teaching, including multiple copies for classroom use, is not copyright infringement provided the specific use "passes" a four factor test.  

The four fair use factors are:

  1. Purpose and character of your use.  In what way are you using the work?
  2. Nature of the copyrighted work.   Is the work you are using fiction or nonfiction?  Published or unpublished?
  3. Amount or significance of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.  How much of the work are you using?  Is it the "heart" of the work?
  4. Effect of your use upon the potential market for the copyrighted work.  Is your use eliminating the need for the purchase of the original?

See this guide's section on Fair Use for more information.


Course Reserve

Instructors are encouraged to use the library's course reserve service to share print course materials with their students. Textbooks, media, and other physical items may be placed on course reserve, allowing equitable access and potentially saving students money on texts.

Canvas may be used to share electronic course content. Please see the Linking Library Content section of this guide and the Ebooks at Michigan Tech guide for specific instructions on sharing Ebooks in the library's collection.

Copyright permission may be required for reproducing materials not held in our collections. Library staff can help you understand the permissions process. Contact for assistance.

Linking Library Content in Canvas

The library's online content including journals, book and videos can easily be linked into your Canvas course. Linking provides access to the work without needing to worry about copyright or licensing restrictions. In addition, linking provides the library with valuable (anonymous) usage data which we use to help inform our collections decision-making.

To link a library resource to your canvas course follow these steps: 

  1. Locate the content you want to share in the library search tool at
  2. Open the full record of your work by clicking on the title.
  3. Click on the Permalink icon in the full record and select Copy to Clipboard.
  4. Use the copied link to hyperlink the title of the work within your Canvas course.

Your students can now access the linked material. Off campus access may require login with ISO credentials.

To embed online content into your Canvas site see our guide Embed Learning Resources in your Canvas Course.

(Note: all users of the library's online content are encouraged to be familiar with the library eResources policy)