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Copyright Resources: Aspects of Copyright to Consider

Fair Use

Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use.

TEACH Act and Educational Exemptions

The TEACH Act (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002) amends Sections 110(2) and 112 of the Copyright Act  of 1976 to give instructors at accredited nonprofit educational institutions greater flexibility to use third party copyrighted works in online course delivery.

For more information on the TEACH Act , refer to the document, 'The TEACH Act, New roles, rules and responsibilities for academic institutions," prepared by the Copyright Clearance Center.


Copyright code allows some exceptions to copyright for educational application. Under these exceptions, instructors may use some works with out obtaining authorization from the copyright holder. 

Use this free online tool to discern if the intended use of a created work falls under an exemption;

Creative Commons

When you create a tangible work, that work is automatically copyrighted per the Copyright Law of the United States Title 17. However, through applying a Creative Commons license to a work, copyright holders can authorize certain uses and reuses of their work without the need to request approval.

Public Domain Definition and Resources

Requesting Permission to use a Copyrighted Work

To use a copyrighted work in a classroom or for an assignment, Otero College strongly encourages all students, staff and faculty request permission from the copyright holder. One way to ensure that the intended use of a copyrighted work is lawful is to obtain permission or a license from the copyright owner. Refer to the document prepared by the U.S. Copyright Office, "How to Obtain Permission" and "Copyright Permissions Sample Letter" page prepared by