Using Copyrighted Material in Canvas

Allegheny College expects that all employees who use copyrighted materials will make every good faith effort to use those materials in compliance with the federal copyright regulations in Section 107 of Chapter 17 of the United States Code. The guidelines provided here are intended to help you determine whether your use of material in Canvas is considered legal (“fair use”) or whether you must seek permission to include some items in your Canvas course.

The principles of copyright law make no distinction between digital course content and paper-based content. In practice, this means that materials posted in your Canvas course require the same adherence to copyright as their non-digital counterparts such as coursepacks. If permission would be required for a print use, it will be required for an analogous digital use.

Canvas, Allegheny’s web-based learning management system, limits access to course sites because it provides secure access to the system only to students currently enrolled in the course. Canvas’s course sites are available only while the course is being taught, and are unpublished after the end of each semester. The following information applies to course sites which limit access in this way.

The following materials may be legally used in Canvas:

  • Public domain material may be used without restriction. See the Public Domain  Checklist for more information.
  • Creative Commons licensed material that permits others to share, remix, or use works. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses.
  • Works to which you yourself own the copyright.
  • Material provided by textbook publishers that is specifically licensed for use in a learning management system.

For materials available on-line that are protected by copyright:

  • Provide links to resources that are freely available on the Web; avoid copying the resources themselves to upload into Canvas.
  • Do not place copies of journal articles from databases licensed by Pelletier Library in your course site; link to them instead.

For all other materials protected by copyright:

  • Apply a fair use analysis to determine whether the material qualifies as a fair use. LITS recommends the use of the American Library Association’s Checklist for Fair Use as a helpful tool in your analysis.
  • If relying on fair use, be sure to properly cite the material and include a copyright notice.
  • If permission is needed, see the Merriman Bookstore for assistance in obtaining clearance from the Copyright Clearance Center.
  • Copies of published worksheets, workbooks, or other materials intended as “consumables” by students should not be placed in Canvas without the publisher’s permission.
  • If using material in a course for more than one semester, seek permission from the copyright holder.