Learn about copyright and fair use for educators so you can use resources in compliance with copyright law.

Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating or sharing course materials, research, and online content.


Copyright protections attach automatically to an original work the moment it is created. Faculty need to understand the basics of copyright law and act in good faith since failure to comply can lead to substantial legal penalties for both the faculty member and the university.

The Adelphi University Copyright Policy is intended to assist members of the Adelphi community in being copyright compliant with materials they use in their classes and for research.

Adelphi authors should consult the University Libraries’ Author Rights page for information about retaining copyright to their own published works.

Fair Use for Faculty

Fair use is a concept in U.S. copyright law that recognizes that certain uses of copyright-protected works do not require permission from the copyright holder (Title 17, section 107). It provides a framework of four balancing factors to analyze whether a copyrighted item can be used for education and research purposes without incurring a copyright infringement or needing to obtain permission.

The Fair Use Doctrine is probably the most important exemption to copyright protections for educational settings, allowing many uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching and research. The complexity of fair use and its importance in academia make it necessary for the Adelphi community to understand the concept.

In general, an instructor may make a copy of a book chapter, a journal, a newspaper article, or a copy of a graph, chart or picture from any of the material discussed and it is generally considered Fair Use. Multiple copies for classroom use may be made by the instructor provided the copying meets the test of brevity, spontaneity, cumulative effect and each copy includes the copyright notice.

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