Fair Use in Teaching

Here is an example of a lesson/assignment I created that incorporates fair use of copyrighted materials. In order for distance students to be able to explore examples of different print source types, we linked to (where possible) and scanned examples. The first four linked items are actually attachment scans (popular magazines and academic journals).


Despite the fact that it is openly viewable on the web, the scans were made for a purely educational purpose. There is no profit being made as a result of the scans. It is apparent where the scans come from because that information is included in the scans. The scans are essential for meeting the learning outcomes of the course. The scans are used to demonstrate how periodicals are set up and what their characteristics are. The content of the materials is not central to the objective.


The scans are from published, more factual works.


Only 2-5 pages of each periodical is included in the scan, including covers. The academic journal scans don’t even include an entire article. We certainly could have included more of the periodical in each scan and stayed within fair use. However, this amount is all that is needed to explore them for the assignment and we wanted to be mindful of bandwidth usage.


The Consortium Library owns the print copies of the scans. Had the students been on campus, we would have used the print copies for demonstration. That said, I have posted the scans publicly on the web. Since we did not include full citations on the website itself, people looking for the articles would not stumble across them. The students using these scans would not have purchased the magazines if we had not scanned them, in part due to logistics of buying a single issue but also because the items are used so briefly as part of just one assignment. Because we needed the covers and it was important to see various parts of a single issue, we could not simply link to an article in an online database.

2 Replies to “Fair Use in Teaching”

  1. You know your stuff, so what can I say about the content or your reasoning?

    Taking off on a tangent: does the Digication platform allow you to apply CC or other licenses to the work you put there?

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