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WPI Copyright Policy and Guidance: Educational Materials

Copyright and Course Reserves

You can place course materials on reserve at the Gordon Library for students to borrow for a limited period of time, or upload copies of readings into Canvas, but these activities may be subject to copyright law and you are responsible for securing the appropriate copyright permissions. However, in certain situations, you may be able to copy and distribute copyrighted educational materials without requesting permission:

  • The material is brief, such as an article of less than 2,500 words, or an excerpt from a prose work of no more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work.
  • You decide to use the material at a time when you would be unable to secure permission before you need to use it in your course.
  • The material is for only one course.

For more details on these guidelines, please consult the U.S. Copyright Office Circular 21 (Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians). Please note that these guidelines are not part of U.S. copyright law, but can serve as a best practice.

You may also consider whether your use is covered by fair use. Consult "Fair Use and Your Work" on the "For Faculty" tab of this guide for more information.

Using Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources, or OERs, are educational resources that are in the public domain (no one owns the copyright and they are free to use) or with an open license. Using OERs for your course readings and materials will give you clarity on re-use, and you can copy, adapt, and share materials legally and with no charge. Visit our own OER guide for more information on finding and using OERs for your courses:

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