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Copyright & Plagiarism: For Faculty and Staff


Much of the information in this section is drawn from content posted on the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office and is based on the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. The information appears here in an edited form.

For a fuller discussion of these topics, including references to legal and other resources, visit:

For most copyright questions, we follow an overall guide: When In Doubt, Gain Permission

The basic rules and applications of copyright are explained on the "Copyright Basics" tab of this guide - it is expected that the viewers of this Faculty specific guide ARE ALSO AWARE of the details of copyright as explained on that page, and any relevant exceptions to these rules by using the governments' available resources.

When using this guide for instructional purposes, we ask that students refrain from using this page as the information, while still accurate, may be irrelevant to student use needs.

Copyright Do's and Don'ts for Faculty/Staff

Yes, do! Please don't!
  • Make sure you reference correctly, both in the text and in your reference list/bibliography
  • Assume that anything you are using is free to use, without copyright
  • Create direct links to library materials for your courses
  • take photographs or other images of sources without permission; including logos and trademarks
  • Ask a librarian for help if you're unsure about the rules that apply to your works
  • Use material where copyright cannot be determined, including your own published materials

International Copyright

Universal international copyright does not exist, but the US is an acting member of the Berne Convention, which is the most widely-adopted copyright treaty in the world. Some guidelines for the applications of this are as follows:

  • Once a work is protected ine one convention-member country, it is protected by copyright in all of them
  • The scope and limitations of any copyright are based on the laws of the country where the misuse takes place (not the country of the works' origin)
  • There are gray areas in the online usage of copyright-protected content, and there are yet to be definitive answers on that - when in doubt, obtain permission

Additional Notes on Copyright for Faculty and Staff

In addition to those basics outlined on the "Copyright Basics" tab of this guide, it is also important to know for faculty and staff that:

  • Copyright on works made during a course of employment by an employee generally belongs to the employer unless specifically agreed otherwise.
  • Online usage of copyright-protected content is not always covered in copyright law - check the details of the origin of your works, and their country's copyright policy for further details

Use Grammarly to help!

All Shaw University students have FREE ACCESS to Grammarly premium software - a tool to use for grammar, spelling, plagiarism, citation assistance, and copyright issues!

  • To activate your account, look for an email from Grammarly in your Shaw email.
  • Click on the link in the email and set up a password.
  • Your login name is your Shaw email address.
  • If you need assistance with this email or haven't recieved it, please reach out to IT -

Handling Copyright as a Shaw Staff/Faculty Member

Posting an item to Moodle does not exempt an instructor from copyright regulations. Therefore, instructors are encouraged to consult these guidelines to ensure they enforce proper copyright protocol:

  1. Add links to your article from a library database, using a Permanent Link (see instructional video below)
  2. If a permanent link is unavailable, complete a fair use evaluation of your material, scan your article, and then upload it to Moodle.

Remember that repeated use over multiple semesters weighs against fair use. For repeated use, you will likely need to contact the publisher and request permissions.

Item Probably Allowed Use Not Allowed Use
Website containing copyrighted material Link to the Website using Moodle Copying and pasting information into Blackboard
Copyrighted web image Must be educational in nature; display in Moodle for one semester Repeated use over multiple semesters
Article from a library database Direct linking to the article Copying and pasting the article into Moodle
Scanned copyrighted image Must be educational in nature, display in Moodle for one semester Repeated use over multiple semesters
Scanned chapter from a book 5% of the total work (if in-print), 10% of the total work (if out-of-print), allowed for only one semester More than the allotted percent, or repeated use over multiple semesters
Scanned article from a journal, trade publication, or magazine A single article, for one semester Multiple articles from the same publication, or repeated use over multiple semesters
Audio Files No more than 30 seconds, without permission Repeated use over multiple semesters, longer than the allotted time
Video Files 10% of the total content, or 3 minutes (whichever is less)

Repeated use over multiple semesters, longer than the allotted time

(The courts are not bound by these amounts and the Copyright Act contains no such amounts. Therefore it is always advisable to err on the side of caution and complete your own fair use evaluation before scanning and posting to Moodle.)

Single copying for teachers:

A single copy generally may be made of any of the following for teaching purposes:

  • A chapter from a book
  • An article from a periodical or newspaper
  • A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work
  • A chart, graph, diagram, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper

Multiple copies for classroom use:

Multiple print or digital copies of articles, book chapters, or other works may be made for classroom use or discussion provided that:

  • There is a clear connection between the work being copied and the instructor’s pedagogical purpose
  • The amount copied is tailored to include only what is appropriate for the instructor’s specific educational goals
  • The access to works distributed online is provided only for the duration of the course for which they are provided, and limited to students enrolled in a course and other appropriate individuals (e.g. teaching assistants for the course)
  • Each copy includes full attribution in a form satisfactory to scholars in that field

Other considerations:

You should not copy works intended to be "consumable" in the course of study or teaching. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets, and answer sheets. Copying should not substitute for the purchase of books or periodicals.

Some examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use:

  • Quotation of excerpts in a review for purposes of illustration, criticism or comment
  • Quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification
  • Parody of the content of the work
  • A summary of an article, with brief quotations
  • Reproduction of a small part of a work by a teacher or student to illustrate a lesson
  • Reproduction of a legislative report or judicial proceeding

Online and distance education

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act was passed in November 2002 as an amendment to the face-to-face performance and display exemption of copyright law (Sections 110(2) and 112). The requirements for compliance are somewhat complex, and the TEACH Act should be considered as one of several options available to instructors when using copyrighted works in their distance education courses.

The Copyright Act contains specific exceptions for the use of copyright-protected materials by academic institutions. These provisions include:

Here is a link to view the “Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code”.

For further assistance, please contact us!
Shaw University Libraries - James E. Cheek Learning Resources Center
118 E. South Street - Raleigh, NC 27609
919-546-8407 -

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