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Copyright: Copyright for Course Management Systems

A guide for CSUF faculty, staff, and students.

Copyright for Course Management Systems

When you post materials to a course management system like Canvas or Leganto, here are some copyright considerations you can keep in mind to stay clear of infringement:

  • You can always post original, course-generated content such as PowerPoint slides, lecture notes, practice exams, etc.
  • You can post stable links to other websites. We encourage the use of “permalinks” to the Pollak Library’s electronic resources.
  • You can post copyright protected material with the permission of the copyright holder. (You can post student work with the student’s permission).
  • You can post anything that is licensed to the University to be shared with students through a course management system. This may also include open educational resources licensed through a Creative Commons license.
  • You can post materials in the public domain (in the US, works published prior to 1926).
  • You can post materials published by the United States Federal Government.
  • You can post anything that falls within the “fair use” provisions of copyright law.

Section 107, Title 17 of the US Code, the fair use statute, is a copyright exception that allows sharing materials protected by copyright for educational purposes (including sharing multiple copies for classroom use) without seeking permission or paying royalties to the copyright holder. Remember that fair use is inherently an inference, a kind of informed guess based on four factors equally weighted. There are no specific limitations or defined amounts and the copyright status of each item posted must be considered independently.

When considering whether your proposed use is fair, a Fair Use Checklist may help.

If you have questions, Pollak Library staff can help you determine if the work is likely to fall within the bounds of fair use.

  • For materials that do not fall under the fair use exception, you may inquire with TitanShops to place them in a coursepack. All coursepacks supplied through Titanshops have copyright costs included in the cost of the coursepack.
  • For movies, check OneSearch to see if the Pollak Library has streaming access. If not, the DMCA allows for digitizing and streaming of limited portions for educational purposes. Beyond that, there is tension between DMCA anti-circumvention rules and whether fair use can still apply. The Office of Educational Technology can assist with digitizing and steaming films that aren’t otherwise available. (And remember, the face-to-face teaching exception will still allow you to show an entire film in class).

More Information

For more information, contact Anthony Davis Jr., Copyright & Policy Librarian,