Loyola University Chicago

Copyright Resources

Use of Copyrighted Works by University Faculty

How do I determine what is or is not covered by copyright?

What is covered by copyright?

Any original content in any tangible format. This includes:

  • literary, musical, and dramatic works
  • pantomimes and choreographic works
  • pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works
  • sound recordings
  • motion pictures and other AV works
  • computer programs
  • architectural works
  • compilations and derivative works

Material on the web also has copyright protection, including images, music and videos. Even the created works from instructors, staff and students are covered by copyright. Copyright occurs automatically with the creation of a new work, so formal procedures (such as registration or publication) are not required. 

Exceptions to copyright

Has Loyola University Chicago obtained rights to use the work?

The University Libraries subscribe to a vast amount of content that is available to authorized users through licensed databases. When choosing material to use for your classes, you may want to search the libraries’ licensed online content.  Many e-book records can be found in the library catalog.  Electronic journals can be located through our journal search page

You can find out more about creating links to library content by reviewing this research guide.  If you need assistance or want more information, please contact your subject specialist or the Reference Staff.

Is it freely available online already (from the copyright holder)?

Many people think that as long as a piece of work is available online, regardless of who put it there, it is okay to link to the work. This is not always true.

Occasionally, copyright owners will make works available on the web via personal websites or media sharing sites (such as YouTube, Flickr, etc.). It is fine to link to these works if you can verify that they have been placed online by the copyright owner.

However, if you knowingly link to a piece of work that has been placed online by someone other than the copyright owner, you could be liable for contributory infringement. If you are unsure whether the copyright owner has placed the work online, consider finding an alternative resource or one that you know you are free to use.

Is the work in the public domain?

Copyright lasts a limited number of years. Once it expires, the work is considered to be in the public domain and can be freely used and altered. Currently, copyright lasts 70 years after the death of an author, except for works produced by a company/employer, in which case the copyright lasts 90 years after date of publication or 120 years from creation. Works can also be placed on public domain through the Creative Commons license. 

For more information about public domain or Creative Commons:

If a piece of work is copyright protected, is your use exempt or excused?

Guidelines of Fair Use

As defined in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act, fair use is a defense against charges of copyright infringement determined through the analysis and application of the four fair use factors:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work.
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Educational performances or displays

The Classroom Use Exemption (17 U.S.C. §110(1)) allows for educational displays and performances of audio, visual, and audiovisual works (e.g. music, movies, photographs) under very specific and limited circumstances:

  1. The instructor must be there in person, and engaging in face-to-face teaching
  2. The performance must take place in a classroom, or similar instructional setting
  3. The class must be at a nonprofit educational institution
  4. The work used must be a legally acquired copy (nothing illegally downloaded from the internet)

If and only if all of these conditions apply, then the public performance or display is permitted without permission from the copyright owner.

Note that this activity must be in person to qualify: it does not apply to works distributed via Sakai or other program.  It also does not apply to online or distance education.  The TEACH Act (17 U.S.C. §110(2)) governs use of audiovisual materials in the online environment, but the conditions are much more complicated.  Also note that this does not apply to uses of audiovisual materials outside of the classroom, such as lecture series, film clubs, or conferences.

How does one obtain rights to use a piece of work?

In order to assist instructors in obtaining this permission, Printing Services has implemented a procedure by which permission may be sought and course packs prepared. All faculty and staff must follow these procedures in order to provide protection to the University from civil and criminal penalties. You can begin this process by completing the Copyright Permission Form online. For more information, see the Printing Services web page.

Who pays for it?

License fees to obtain copyright permissions may be covered by each individual school or academic unit. Check with the head of your department to determine how your unit handles license fees.

What are guidelines for placing works in Sakai?

If you do not own or have permission to use the piece of work, the use of the work must be exempt or excused based on the grounds of fair use. 

The Fair Use Checklist will help walk you through the four factors of fair use, and we’ve included a Copyright Compliance Statement that allows you to record the nature of your use for a particular piece of work. Please note that this compliance statement is simply an opportunity for you to record your reasoning; it is a good idea for you to keep this document on record, but it is not required that you submit it to Sakai administrators.