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Copyright: Guide to Fair Use and Copyright Compliance

This guide is made to help educate you on how to protect yourself and your artistic work.

Guide to Fair Use and Copyright Compliance

American Academy of Art

Guide to Fair Use and Copyright Compliance

The “fair use” defense against copyright infringement claims depends on four factors, including commercial vs. nonprofit educational use. Because AAA is a for-profit college, the policies that are common at nonprofit schools do not apply here.

Permission from the Copyright Holder is Required to:

  • Distribute a photocopy or digital copy of a work
  • Display a digital copy of a work in class (in a PowerPoint, on DVD, etc.) or online
  • Store a digital copy of a work on a shared network or website

Attribution (giving credit in a PowerPoint, handout, etc.) is NOT a substitute for getting permission!

The guidelines described in the library’s course reserves policy (available on the library website) also apply to materials used in the classroom (eg, handouts):

  • In order for photocopies of copyrighted materials to be distributed in class, written permission must be obtained from the copyright holder.
  • In order for copyrighted materials to be posted on the library’s course materials pages, written permission must be obtained from the copyright holder.

Other Options for Instructors:

  • Place a library or personal copy of the work containing the required reading on reserve in the library. Students can come in to read or make an individual photocopy for their own use.
  • Link to required reading from a free website or subscription database on your course materials page. (Keep in mind that students will need a password to access subscription databases from off campus.)

Obtaining Permissions:

  • Permissions are generally handled by the publisher of the work (listed on the title page and/or copyright page)
  • Most publishers have permissions request forms or information on their websites. The Copyright Clearance Center ( handles permissions for many publishers, especially periodicals.
  • Some publishers (especially the big ones) charge permissions fees. These fees are the instructor’s responsibility.

The librarian is available to help you by:

  • Researching copyright holders and permissions procedures of publishers
  • Providing sample copies of permissions request letters
  • Arranging legal delivery methods for copyrighted works (eg, through library purchase, link to subscription database)
  • Suggesting alternative readings to replace noncompliant works