Post it Legally
Want to Place Course Materials Online?
Advice from the Library

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MyUCDavis logoNow that MyUCDavis has made it so easy to build a course Web site, instructors have begun to store published articles or other additional course materials in electronic form for students to retrieve with minimal hassle. Along with this practical use of the technology comes the instructor's responsibilities to comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and all the other federal and state copyright laws, stay within the definition of the fair use exception to the permission requirement, seek written permission (a license) where those conser-vative limits may be exceeded, and provide compensation to the copyright holders if required.

Furthermore, some copyrighted materials, such as journals and databases in electronic formats are generally made available through institutional site licenses, which can alter and restrict what would otherwise be a fair use exception. While the University respects the conservative limits of the fair use exception, some licenses may deny the right to use the copyright-protected material in class Web sites without prior written permission from, and compensation for, the copyright holder.

General Library Reserve Services units have traditionally aided instructors in these matters. If you are an instructor, here are some suggestions for making the best use of the Web sites you can create in MyUCDavis without breaking federal and state copyright laws:
  • You may altogether avoid the need to ascertain license restrictions, evaluate fair use qualifications, and seek permissions by using hyperlinks which do not carry constraints or require permission. Instead of storing an electronic copy of the article on the class Web site, instructors should link to the article at its location on the publisher's Web site. According to current laws, obtaining permission to link to copyrighted sources is unnecessary as long as the link goes directly to the source and is not framed as part of the original content on the class site.

  • You may strengthen your qualification for a fair use exception by limiting student access to electronic copies of the articles by using only the minimal amount of material needed for your purpose, by removing materials promptly after the quarter ends, and by not reusing the articles in subsequent quarters.

For advice or questions regarding copyright issues, call Shields Library's Reserve Services at 752-2760 or visit Reserves online. For services at the Carlson Health Sciences Library, call 752-2144 or visit Reserve Services for UCD Instructors online.

Thanks to Karl Kocher of Shields Library, who coordinated this article and to Jan Carmikle of Business Contracts, who contributed to this article.


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