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Copyright and Fair Use Guide - Health Sciences Libraries: Guidelines

Best practices for the classroom and workplace. Does our license allow you to photocopy or electronically distribute copyrighted materials to your students, staff or co-workers?

When In Doubt

Bottom line:  The best practice is to share links or citations

Do not distribute articles or other content unless you have:

  1. Identified a work with a Creative Commons (CC) or other open license, such as by searching OpenVerse or a Health & Med Open Educational Resources (OER) on the Libraries' Open Educational Resources guide,
  2. Worked through a 'fair use' or 'educational use' evaluation using the tools on this guide's Resources page and feel confident the use meets the specific requirements for a fair use or educational use exception
  3. Obtained and/or paid for permission to reproduce and distributed the content (digitally or via photocopies).

Library Guidelines on Copyright

The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17 United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproduction of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any other purpose than private study, scholarship or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "Fair Use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Title 37 Code of Federal Regulations §201.14 Warnings of Copyright for Use by Certain Libraries and Archives. See also Title 37 Code of Federal Regulations, § 201.20 Methods of Affixation and Positions of the Copyright Notices on Various Types of Works and Title 17 of the United States Code, § 107-110 and § 401(c), as amended by Pub. L. 94-553.

Images & Copyright

When using images found on the Internet, be sure to look for copyright restrictions and guidelines for citing the images on the website where you've gotten the image.

The National Library of Medicine has some good points and guidelines regarding copyright and the use of images and videos, in addition to where to find copyright information and obtain copyright permissions:

If you need assistance with citation or have questions regarding copyright, please contact library staff: