Mohave Community College Libraries


creative commons icon is an organization that connects educators and other content creators with free legal resources. These tools, when used appropriately, allow content to be shared and reproduced without infringing on copyright law.

The main tool that Creative Commons can offer is their copyright licenses. These in effect loosen the restriction on material in various ways, changing the copyright on an item from “All Rights Reserved” to “some rights reserved.” The level of protection on an item varies with the type of license. 

                                                The Licenses Attribution 
 This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build  upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit  you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating  of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum  dissemination and use of licensed materials. Attribution-ShareAlike 
 This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your  work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit  you and license their new creations under the identical  terms. Attribution-NoDerivatives 
 This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-  commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and  whole, with credit to you. Attribution-NonCommercial 
 This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your  work non-commercially, and although their new works must  also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t  have to license their derivative works on the same terms. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 
 This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your  work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and  license their new creations under the identical terms. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
 This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses,  only allowing others to download your works and share them  with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change  them in any way or use them commercially.


Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was enacted to address the inherent vulnerabilities found in an online network. It also provides the legal process for copyright holders to make claims of infringement, given that only an Internet Service Provider (ISP) has the means to locate an infringing party (IP address and timestamp). The DMCA is an attempt by Congress to balance the needs of copyright holders, whose digital works can be easily accessed and copied, and the liability of an ISP for its users’ infringing activities.

The Act includes five titles, three of which have particular relevance to academic institutions.

Title I: Prohibitions on Circumvention of Protection Technologies, Sections 1201 & 1202:

  • Prohibits the circumvention of technological measures that control access to, or restrict the use of, a copyright-protected work (e.g., breaking a password or encryption to gain access to a protected work)
  • Prohibits the manufacture of any device, or the offering of any service, designed to circumvent technological measures that control access to copyright-protected works
  • Prohibits tampering with copyright management information (CMI). Creates liability for anyone who intentionally provides or distributes false CMI, including the title of a work, the name of the author or copyright holder, and other identifying information

Title II: Limitations on Online Service Provider Liability

The DMCA gives limited liability to college networks, which act as Internet service providers (ISPs) for students and faculty, provided the institution meets certain requirements:

  • Appoint a designated agent to receive reports of copyright infringement and register that agent with the U.S. Copyright Office
  • Comply with any "take down" requests
  • Use measures to protect against unauthorized access to content and unlawful dissemination of information
  • Use only legally acquired copies of copyrighted works
  • The institution provides copyright information to its users

Title IV: Digital Preservation

  • Permits nonprofit  institutions to make up to three, digital preservation copies of an eligible copyrighted work
  • Electronically "loan" those copies to other qualifying institutions
  • Permits preservation, including by digital means, when the existing format in which the work has been stored becomes obsolete

What are the Guidelines for Fair Use by Instructors?

According to the U.S. Copyright Office circular Reproduction of Copyrighted Works (2009), copying by instructors must meet tests for brevity and spontaneity.  Brevity refers to how much of the work an instructor can copy (defined below); spontaneity refers to the instructor’s need to copy, which should occur closely in time to the need to use the copies. If brevity and spontaneity standards are not met, it is expected the instructor will obtain permission from the copyright holder as soon as feasible.

If the instructor repeatedly uses the copyrighted material without obtaining permission, it is less likely to be considered fair use. Using something over a period of several semesters or years is not fair use.

Note that the below parameters are guidelines only; they are not the minimum or maximum standards of educational fair use. Instructors should attempt an equitable balance between the rights of owners and the needs of students when using copyrighted works. 

papers  Print  

What you can do

  • make multiple copies for classroom use for face-to-face teaching.
  • transmit over Internet (display as part of a distance learning course or as a class enhancement).
  • for online classes, the amount is comparable to what is typically displayed in the course of a live classroom setting.

quill and ink  Poetry

What you can do

  • a complete poem of less than 250 words, or an excerpt of 250 words from a poem greater than 250 words.

books  Prose

What you can do

  • a complete article, story, or essay that is less than 2,500 words.
  • for works longer than 2500 words, use only excerpts up to 1,000 words or 10 percent of the total work, whichever is less.

Restrictions and Conditions (Print, Poetry, Prose)

For face-to face classroom copying: 

  • only one per student.
  • cannot create anthologies.
  • cannot copy consumables, like workbooks or exams.
  • copies of materials must be legally made or acquired.

For distance learning:

  • technological measures must be in place to prevent unauthorized access or copying.
  • the use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class, and access must be terminated at the end of the lesson or course.
  • cannot use materials specifically marketed or produced for mediated instructional activities over digital networks.
  • copies of materials must be legally made or acquired.

photos    Images

What you can do

  • one chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture contained in a book or periodical issue.
  • single works may be used in their entirety, but no more than 5 images by a single artist or photographer.
  • from a collection of images (different artists or photographers), up to 15 images or 10 percent, whichever is less.

Restrictions and Conditions (Images)

For face-to face classroom copying: 

  • only one per student.
  • cannot create anthologies.
  • cannot copy consumables, like workbooks or exams.
  • copies of materials must be legally made or acquired.

For distance learning:

  • technological measures must be in place to prevent unauthorized access or copying.
  • the use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class, and access must be terminated at the end of the lesson or course.
  • cannot use materials specifically marketed or produced for mediated instructional activities over digital networks.
  • copies of materials must be legally made or acquired.

music notes  Music (music, lyrics, audio clips and music videos)

What you can do

  • can play (perform) in face-to-face classroom environment with no restrictions, as long as legally made or acquired. 
  • for online classes use only reasonable and limited portions of dramatic musical works*. Guidelines - up to 10 percent of the work but no more than 30 seconds of the music or lyrics from an individual musical work.
  • for online classes can use entire nondramatic musical works** (may be transmitted once without permission).

Restrictions and Conditions (Music)

For face-to-face classrooms:

  • copies of materials used must be legally made or acquired.

For distance learning:

  • technological measures must be in place to prevent unauthorized access or copying.
  • the use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class, and access must be terminated at the end of the lesson or course.
  • cannot use materials specifically marketed or produced for mediated instructional activities over digital networks.
  • copies of materials used must be legally made or acquired.

movie clap board   Motion Pictures and other Audiovisual works (movies, film clips, broadcasts, excerpts from television shows)

What you can do

  • can play (show) in face-to-face classroom setting with no restrictions, as long as legally made or acquired. 
  • no restrictions as long as copies of materials used are legally made and acquired.
  • archival copying okay provided a suitable replacement is unavailable at a fair price or in a viable format.
  • for online classes use only reasonable and limited portions of dramatic works***, such as movies, TV programs, plays, etc. Unlike a face-to-face teaching environment, you may not stream entire dramatic films. Guidelines are up to 10 percent of the total or three minutes, whichever is less.
  • for online classes can use a non-dramatic work (i.e. documentary) in its entirety.
  • for online classes, educational materials marketed as “mediated instructional activities transmitted via digital networks” may not be used.

Restrictions and Conditions (Audiovisual works)

For both distance learning and face to face instruction:

  • the video or film must be screened as part of an instructional program and not for entertainment or recreational purposes.
  • copies of materials used must be legally made or acquired.

For distance learning:

  • technological measures must be in place to prevent unauthorized access or copying.
  • the use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class, and access must be terminated at the end of the lesson or course.
  • cannot use materials specifically marketed or produced for mediated instructional activities over digital networks.
  • copies of materials used must be legally made or acquired.

Dramatic Musical Work - includes musical works incorporated into opera, musicals or music videos.

** Non-Dramatic Musical Works - refers to musical works, such as popular songs, that are not incorporated and performed in an opera, musical, or music video. 

*** Dramatic Work -  work in which the story is portrayed by actors; includes plays, movies, operas, television dramas and comedies. 

question mark  Copyright FAQ

When should I get permission to use a copyrighted work?

  The first step in every permission situation is to determine whether you need to ask for permission. In other words, do you need an agreement or can you use the work without permission? Determining whether to ask for permission depends on two questions:

  • Is the material protected under law?
  • Would your use of the material violate the law?

 Unfortunately, it is not always possible to answer these questions with a definitive “yes” or “no.” Sometimes, you may have to analyze the risk involved in operating without permission.

 If a creative work is protected under copyright law, an unauthorized use may still be legal. This is because there are exceptions to each of the laws protecting creative work — situations in which authorization is not required. For example, under copyright law, a principle known as “fair use” permits you to copy small portions of a work for certain purposes such as scholarship or commentary. See tab labeled Fair Use for additional information. 

Fair use means that if I’m using it for educational purposes, I can do whatever I want with a copyrighted work, right?

 The "fair use" limitation found at 17 USC § 107 is not defined in the statute and does not provide clearly defined criteria for determining what is or is not a fair use. Rather it identifies four factors that should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in order to determine if a specific use is "fair". These factors, which should be considered together when determining fair use, are:

  1. Purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. Nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

 Just because your use is for non-profit educational purposes does not automatically give you permission to copy and distribute other people's work. While many educational uses may be fair, you will probably need to evaluate your use each time you are reproducing copyrighted material — to show in your class, to hand out copies, to include in your writing. See tab labeled Fair Use for additonal information.

To what extent am I personally liable as a faculty member, student, or employee of Mohave Community College for violating copyright law?

 Both the College and the individual may be liable in a civil suit for willful infringement of U.S. Copyright Law. Section 504 (c) (2) of the law states that willful infringement may result in damages of up to $150,000.

 Section 504 (c)(2) further states that damages may be remitted (i.e., not enforced) under the following conditions:

 The infringer must prove in court that he or she reasonably thought the use in question fell under fair use; however, this would not necessarily prevent the copyright holder from filing a lawsuit or subsequent attorney and court fees.

Can I scan course readings and put them up on my personal website for students to read?

 No, not without permission of the copyright owner.  Materials posted on the web could be accessed by people all over the world. In effect you would be distributing the information freely and broadly, thus affecting the market for that work (fair use factor #4).

If a work is copyrighted and I want to use it in my class, what do I have to do?

 You can put it on reserve in the library without getting permission from the copyright owner. If you want to distribute multiple copies directly to students, you need to get permission.

Note: If a work you want to use is out of print, it may still be under copyright protection. You should proceed with the assumption that an out of print work still enjoys protection.

What if I use ANGEL, a system that uses passwords to limit access to students in a particular class? Would that be fair use of copyrighted materials?

 It’s not clear whether this is fair use or not. Yes limiting access to students in a particular class does make a better case for fair use. However, even in limiting access, you still have to consider the four fair use factors and the guidelines for brevity and spontaneity.

For example, you could post an article in ANGEL for one semester only and not re-use it unless you get permission from the copyright owner.

What about copying a worksheet or a test for students?

 If you create the test or worksheet and retain the copyright, yes, you can copy it. However, published tests and worksheets may also be under copyright, and you will need to get permission of the copyright owner to copy and distribute them.

Can I show films in the classroom?

 Yes. According to the Section 110 (1) of the U.S. Copyright Act, performance of or showing films in the classroom as part of “face-to-face” teaching at non-profit educational institutions (such as MCC) is covered under the fair use exception. Viewing must be limited to only those enrolled in the course, and the film screened must be directly related to the instructional program.

 Showing films in equivalent fashion as part of distance education or hybrid courses also qualifies as fair use under the TEACH Act, but there are restrictions. Only reasonable and limited portions of dramatic works, such as movies, TV programs, plays, etc. can be used; guidelines are up to 10 percent of the total or three minutes, whichever is less. In contrast, entire non-dramatic works can be shown. 

Can I display copyrighted pictures and other visual material in an online setting?

 Yes, generally. You must make reasonable measures to ensure against wide distribution of these copyrighted materials. This usually includes:

  • Holding the course in a password-protected format
  • Only displaying material that is directly related to course content and under your supervision as an instructor during class session/module.
  • Posting a copyright notice in your course so that students are informed regarding the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted materials
  • Taking steps so that students may not reproduce the work (saving files, etc.)

Do I have to get permission to link to another site from my web page?

 In general, no, you do not need permission to create a link to another web site. However, even though it is not required, it is considered polite to ask permission to create a link to someone else's information on the web, especially if you think linking will drive a lot of traffic to that site.

What kinds of information am I allowed to post on my website?

 Any information that has been created by you as an author is acceptable to put on a webpage or a website. This includes syllabi, class notes, biographical information, curriculum vitae, etc. Articles or papers that you have written may be posted without permission only if you are the copyright holder for the work. If it has been published elsewhere, you may no longer own the copyright to the work and may have to seek permission to post it to your site.

  If you copy a work or a significant portion of another work (including images) for which you do not own copyright and post it to a website without permission, you may be in violation of copyright law.

Putting something up on a website is not the same as publishing something, is it? So do I have to worry about copyright?

 Yes, you do. Posting something to the web, even if you don’t call it publishing, still means it’s protected by copyright law. According to United States Copyright Law, "Copyright protects original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device."

 So once an image, article, book, or other work is created, it is protected under copyright whether or not it was published in a traditional manner or in physical form. Thus, if you post your own work or that of others to a website, you still have to keep copyright in mind.

Can I print, download, or e-mail information from a website or library database without violating copyright?

 Yes, in general, it’s OK to print, download, or e-mail a single copy of a work from a database or website for personal, non-profit, research use.

 Remember, though, that information on websites or found in databases is almost always protected under copyright law. Take care not to infringe the copyright by e-mailing, printing, downloading, or otherwise sharing multiple copies of the work. It is a violation of copyright and licensing agreements to copy an entire database or even significant portions of a database even for personal use.

What else do I need to know about printing, downloading, or e-mailing information or articles from databases?

 Mohave Community College provides access to many databases, which contain articles, books, audio and video resources, and other information for scholarly research. You can print, download, and e-mail this information because the College has paid for a license for you to do so. In agreeing to this license, the College ensures that database users are students, staff, faculty or public patrons only. The College also agrees that the information available is used in accordance with any restrictions listed in the license (for example, printing, downloading, or e-mailing one copy of an article for personal use).

 Thus, because of this license agreement, you can use the information you find in the database for personal, non-profit, research purposes.

public domain icon  What is the Public Domain?

The public domain is a collection of works that are not subject to copyright law.  

When a work is in the public domain, you can freely copy, distribute, display and perform the work, as well as make derivative and commercial works.

There are three classes of public domain works:

  1. Works that automatically enter the public domain upon creation because they are not copyrightable:       

         a)  Titles, names, short phrases and slogans, familiar symbols and numbers

         b)  Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices (as distinguished from a                description, explanation, or illustration)

         c)  Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and contains no original authorship (e.g.,                                standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers)

         d)  Works federal government employees produced within the scope of employment

         e)  Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (e.g., spontaneous speeches or performances that                      have not been written or recorded)

  2.  Works clearly and explicitly donated to the public domain:

         a)  Creative Commons licenses

         b)  ODC Public Domain Dedication and License (PDDL)

         c)  GNU General Public License

         d)  BSD licenses

  3.  Works that have entered the public domain because the copyright on them has expired:

         a)  All works published in the U.S. before 1923

         b)  All works published with a copyright notice from 1923 through 1963 without copyright renewal

         c)  All works published without a copyright notice from 1923 through 1977

         c)  All works published without a copyright notice from 1978 through March 1, 1989, and without subsequent                                 registration within 5 years 

U.S. Public Domain Chart


Copyright of Works First Published in the US by Jappalang is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

copyright symbol  Steps to Obtain Permission for a Copyrighted Work

When selecting material for use in your courses or research, sometimes you may come across a resource that you would like to use, but do not know if it is permissible to do so. In this case, you will want to obtain permission from the content creator or related party. In this section, we discuss how you can request permission, and to determine if requesting permission is needed.  

The first step in the process is determining whether you do need permission. This can be difficult in the current electronic environment, but there are some definitive markers to look for.

Your use of the material qualifies as ‘Fair Use.’

This situation must be approached with caution!

The fact of your use being educational does not in and of itself mean that copyright does not apply. Please see the tab Fair Use Guidelines of our site for more specific information on the factors that will determine if your proposed use would fall under this provision.

If none of the above applies you will need to obtain permission for the work.

  1. Contact the owner through the website in which you found the work.
  2. For works published after 1978, you may look up the owner information online at The US Copyright Office. For works published before 1978, you would have to request the Office to manually search for you.
  3. Check websites devoted to finding copyright owners of different mediums.

  copyright clearance center icon   Copyright Clearance Center

  university of reading icon   The WATCH file

  Copyright Center for the National Association of Music Education

  mplc icon  Motion Picture Licensing Corporation

Note: Different formats may require different rights. For example, using a song might require permission from the performing artist, publishing house, record company, etc. If you are unsure of which rights may be needed, please contact the relevant authority or your librarian.

Once you have determined the copyright owner of the work you would like to use, you can request permission. The permission you request will depend on several factors, such as the format, and the setting in which you intend to use the work – whether it be in the classroom, at a conference, etc. There are template letters available on the web that can facilitate the writing of your request. Links to a few pages where these may be found are listed here as examples only:

Columbia University Libraries Copyright Compliance Office

University of Chicago's Copyright Information Center

Duke University Libraries Scholarly Communication Toolkit

NYU Libraries Copyright


* It is very important to perserve a record of any approval you receive, whether it be a letter, email, etc., in case any questions arise about the approval you obtain. 


copyright symbolGlossary


A series of related images together with accompanying sounds, intended to be shown by the use of machines or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment.


The act of bypassing a technological device or system (passwords, encryption, watermarking) to gain access to or copy a work. 

Commercial Use

For the purposes of this glossary, Commercial Use refers to any activity that is meant to generate income. If an item is marked for non-commercial use, this means that you cannot use it if you intend your work to bring in revenue.

Compilation (Anthology)

A work made up of pre-existing materials selected and arranged in a creative and original way, so that the resulting work qualifies for copyright protection. 


Material objects from which a work can be read or visually perceived. 


A set of exclusive rights awarded to a copyright holder for an original and creative work of authorship, fixed in a tangible form of expression. 

Copyright Owner

With respect to any one of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright, refers to the owner of that particular right. Rights granted by copyright may be sold or licensed individually, on an exclusive or nonexclusive basis permanently, or for a limited period of time.


A work is "created" when it is fixed in a tangible form for the first time.

Creative Commons

A nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. (

Derivative Work

A copyrightable work based on a pre-existing work, such as a translation, or dramatization of a work.

Digital Educational Work

A work that is marketed primarily for online classes.


To "display" a work means to show a copy of it, either directly or by means of a film, slide, television image, or any other device or process of, or in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to show individual images non-sequentially. (US Code)

Dramatic Literary Work

Any work in which the story is portrayed by actors; includes plays, movies, operas, television dramas and comedies. 

Dramatic Musical Work

Includes musical works incorporated into opera, musicals or music videos.

Exclusive Rights

The rights of the copyright holder to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, and display a work and to create derivative works based on the original. 

Face-to-Face Teaching Exemption

Exempts all displays and performances when:

(1) given by instructor or pupil

(2) in a face-to-face teaching situation

(3) at a non-profit educational institution

(4) in a place devoted to teaching

(5) the audiovisual works are lawfully made

Fair Use

A concept copyright law that allows a user to exercise an exclusive right in certain circumstances without the prior authorization of the copyright holder. “Circumstances” include criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research or parody.

Fair Use Factors

Four factors must always be considered in determining fair use: "the purpose and character of use; the nature of the work; the amount and substantiality of the portion used; and the effect of the use upon the potential market for the copyrighted work." (US Code)


A work is "fixed" in a tangible medium of expression when its embodiment in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration. (US Code)

Fixed in Tangible Medium

The perceptible, physical form of a creative expression, such as words in a book or music on a compact disc. Also one of the requirements for copyright protection. 


The act of violating one or more of a copyright holder’s exclusive rights.

Literary Works

Works other than audiovisual works, expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as books, periodicals, manuscripts, phonorecords, film, tapes, disks, or cards in which they are embodied. (US Code)

Mediated Instructional Activities

Teaching activities that can be exempt from copyright under the TEACH Act, if they are integral to the course, under the direction of the course instructor, and analogous to the kinds of performances or displays one would expect in a physical classroom. 

Motion Pictures

Works consisting of a series of related images which, when shown in succession, impart an impression of motion, together with accompanying sounds, if any. (US Code)

Musical Works

Works which include any accompanying words and are fixed in some tangible medium of expression. Musical works include both original compositions and original arrangements.

Non-Dramatic Literary Works

Literary works without a dramatic presentation, such as poetry, novels, and factual works.

Non-Dramatic Musical Works

Refers to musical works, such as popular songs that are not incorporated and performed in an opera, musical, or music video. 


To "perform" a work means to recite, render, play, dance, or act it, either directly or by means of any device or process or, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to show its images in any sequence or to make the sounds accompanying it audible. (US Code)


Tangible objects from which sounds are fixed and can be heard, communicated, or distributed either directly or through the use of a machine.

Public Display

A display of a work before a group larger than a family or a small group of friends or at a place open to the public. 

Public Domain

Works free to use and unprotected by copyright.

Public Performance

Performance before a group larger than a family or small group of friends, or in a place open to the public. (US Code)

Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act of 2002

An amendment to copyright law that allows for the public performance and display of copyrighted work in digital forms, and to be transferred through digital networks for teaching purposes at accredited non-profit, educational institutions.

Technological Protection Measures

Digital technologies or software used to control access to or copying of copyrighted works, such as password protection and watermarking.

Transfer of Copyright Ownership

An assignment, exclusive license or any other conveyance, of a copyright or of any of the exclusive rights included in a copyright.


To transmit a performance or display is to communicate it by any device or process, whereby images or sounds are received beyond the place from which they are sent.

Work for Hire

A copyrightable work created by an employee or a contractor hired to do so. 

Copyright and the TEACH Act (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization)

The TEACH Act (2002) allows copyrighted works to be digitally transmitted to distance education students without permission of the copyright holder. TEACH requires academic institutions must first meet specific requirements for copyright compliance and education. Note, institutions are not required to use and apply the TEACH Act to a distance education program - it is only applicable if you choose to use it.  Other lawful uses of copyrighted works are still available, including fair use or getting permission. 

Primary Requirements:

  • Teaching must occur at an accredited, non-profit educational institution.
  • All materials used must be lawfully made and acquired.
  • The use must be part of “mediated instructional activities”:
    • integral to the course,
    • under the direction of the course instructor, and 
    • equivalent to the kinds of performances or displays that one would expect in a physical setting
  • Work is not a digital educational work.  
  • Materials that are to be used should not be primarily marketed towards distance education (electronic textbooks), be material you know or should know are illegal, or be textbooks, course packs, electronic reserves or other materials typically purchased by students for independent review outside the classroom (Fair Use still applies)
  • Performances of non-dramatic literary and musical works (without narrative) can be shown in their entirety.
  • Performances of dramatic works (with narrative) cannot be shown in their entirety - limited to “reasonable and limited portions” necessary to meet the teaching goal.
  • Displays of any work (images, text) are allowed “in an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of a live classroom setting.”
  • Reasonable efforts must be made to prevent students from distributing the material after viewing it.

Technological Requirements:

  • Limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific course (e.g. passwords, encryption).
  • “Downstream controls” that reasonably prevent students from retaining the works beyond the class session and further distribution.
  • No interference with technological measures taken by copyright owners that prevent retention and authorized distribution.

General Institutional Requirements:

  •  Establish and distribute copyright use policies.
  •  Promote copyright compliance.
  •  Provide notice to students that course materials may be protected by copyright.
    • (Example of notice -  The materials on this course Web site are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.)

Course Materials Requirements:

  • The materials must contain a notice stating that they may be subject to copyright protection.
  • If there is no digital version available, then an analog version can be converted to digital but only in the amount that is needed.

Copyright Checklists:

It is an instructor's responsibility to ensure their use of copyrighted materials complies with copyright law. If the following checklists show that the TEACH Act does not apply to your use of media, it is possible the Fair Use exception of copyright law may still apply.

⇒ See below for print version of Mohave Community College - Fair Use Checklist

A Sample Copyright Notice

The materials on this course Web site are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.

General Resources 

creative commons icon  If you're looking for Creative Commons (CC) materials, the first resource to consult should be the Creative Commons at Because the search engine is not perfect, it will sometimes retrieve items that may not be covered by a CC license, so please always verify the item's copyright license.  

photos  Images at site provides access to some very interesting CC-licensed background images. 

Flickr at provides a separate Creative Commons licensed videos collection which makes the filtering process very easy. Just type your keyword in the search window at Click on your image selection and check the license setting on the lower right side. If it says Some Rights Reserved, it means it is Creative Commons licensed and is safe to use. All CC licensed images in Flickr are released under CC BY, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Getty Images at While Getty Images does not provide CC-licensed materials, it now offers the ability to use 35 million of its images for non-commercial purposes.  Simply go to their site by clicking on the link above, search for an image using key words, and you can limit your search to royalty-free options from the menu on top of the screen.

Wikimedia Commons at is a hub for digital storage of public domain content                including historic images, illustrations and documents, and other Creative Commons content like logos, icons,                  photographs and other contemporary images.

music notes   Sound Recordings

ccMixter at on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons license. You are free to download and sample from music on this site and share the results with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Some songs might have certain restrictions, depending on their specific licenses. Each submission is marked clearly with the license that applies to it.

Community Audio at This is one of several music/audio projects hosted by the Internet Archive. Material can be downloaded under different Creative Commons licenses. Please be sure to double check what the license allows.

Free Music Archive (FMA) at allows legal downloads of Creative Commons-licensed music. The lists of music are curated by independent labels, terrestrial, and Internet radio stations.

Free Sound Project at Need some sound effects? Please be sure to carefully read the CC license accompanying each sound effect file to see what uses are permitted.

Internet Archive Live Music Archive at fairly long list of artists and bands are making live recordings of their music available for download on this site. The tracks are covered by a "trade friendly" which essentially means that they may only be used for non-commercial purposes. 

Jamendo at https://www.jamendo.comThis site contains both "royalty-free" as well as Creative Commons licensed music.  Contains over 400,000 tracks and is international in scope.

movie clap board  Videos and Multimedia

Khan Academy at provides top-quality educational videos that are organized by discipline and skill levels. The subject matter includes math, science, economics, finance, and humanities. Most Khan Academy videos are licensed under CC BY NC SA 3.0 which lets you remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as you credit the authors and license your new creations under identical terms. Once you find a video click the option Info to view the license.

Moving Image Archive at This site allows you to either stream or download film materials from a variety of sources.  Movies are either covered under Creative Commons licenses or are in the public domain.  Please double check to be sure. 

Prelinger Archives: Free Movies at contains downloadable films covered under a Creative Commons 0 license (Public Domain).  You can find commercials, educational films, industrial films, some stock footage, and amateur films.  

Vimeo at hosts videos released under all six types of Creative Commons’ licenses. To check the license setting of a Vimeo video, select the Advanced Filters option. Once selected you will see a list of license filters. Just click on the drop-down menu under Any License and select one of the CC licenses.

YouTube at provides millions of Creative-Commons-licensed videos. The key is filtering them to isolate the Creative Commons-licensed ones. The filter sometimes renders incorrect results, so remember to double check the video’s license setting. 

books  Written Works

This list includes sources for non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and drama.

Europeana at Contains links to a wide range of digitized materials held in European libraries and museums-- some of which are in the public domain.  Be sure to check the rights information on the files you view or use.  

Google Books at all material listed here is in the public domain, but you can search for books and magazines published prior to 1923 by using the Google Books Advanced Search.

Internet Archive: at of the texts on this site also contain Creative Commons licensed works.  The site contains quite a bit of content.  

Project Gutenberg at Gutenberg offers over 42,000 free e-books that are in the public domain. These e-books are designed to work on computers, e-readers, and other mobile devices. The collection includes almost any classic work of literature published before 1923, such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, etc.

music notes  Music (Sheet Music, Scores and More)

Choral Public Domain Library at site provides access to public domain choral sheet music as well as some contemporary works where the composer wished to share scores for download.  Please be sure to verify the copyright status of works you wish to use.

International Music Score Library Project at takes public domain music for individual musicians and ensembles, digitizes them, and makes them available online. This well-kept secret by classical musicians will be useful whether or not you are a musician, because many musicians make their recordings available online without those pesky performance rights. If you need to download and/or stream classical music like Pomp and Circumstance and the Brandenburg Concertos without worrying about licenses, this is the right place.

Librivox at is run by many of the same volunteers at Project Gutenberg. Public domain audiobooks are read by volunteers. The reading and recording quality is professional caliber, and the volunteers grant the rights for the audiobooks to be shared and publicly performed.

Musopen: Free Public Domain Classical Music at resource complements searching in IMSLP. You can access public domain scores here.  There are also recordings available from this site, but they could still be under copyright or are under a Creative Commons license.  You need to create a free account to access the recordings. 

photos  Visual Arts and  Images 

Flickr: Public Domain at is a newer group pool for Flickr where contributors are dedicating their images to the public domain. If you have images that you'd like to dedicate to the public domain, you can also join the group.  As always, be sure to verify the copyright status before using any of these images.

Pixabay at - Finding free images of high quality is a tedious task - due to copyright issues, attribution requirements, or simply the lack of quality. This was the inspiration behind Pixabay - a repository for stunning public domain pictures. Your source for free vectors, free drawings and free photos. You can use any Pixabay image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications. 

Wikimedia Commons at

This site not only provides access to Creative Commons-licensed images, but also to reproductions of public domain images.  Recently they've been teaming up with the National Archives to provide access to thousands of photos.

movie clap board  Movies and Multimedia  

American Memory Collection (Motion Picture and Television Reading Room, Library of Congress) at included in this collection are mostly in the public domain, however, please verify the status before using a film.

Moving Image Archive ( at site allows you to either stream or download film materials from a variety of sources.  Movies you'll find on this site are either covered under Creative Commons licenses or are in the public domain.  Please double check to be sure.