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Fair Use during COVID-19

Many library copyright experts believe that the current crisis means educators can rely on fair use more than ever. The first and fourth factors, in particular, may weigh more heavily in educators' favor in the current circumstances.

What is Fair Use?

You are free to reproduce and remix copyrighted materials if your use of the materials can be considered a "fair use."  Copyright law offers four factors to determine whether your use is "fair" or not:

  1. "The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purpose..."
    • If you are  copying this work for nonprofit educational purposes it is more likely that your use is fair use, but you still need to consider the other three factors.
  2. "The nature of the copyrighted work..."
    • If you are copying a factual work, your case is stronger than if it is a creative work.
  3. "The amount and sustainability of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted works as a whole..."
    • If you are copying only a small portion of the original work it is easier to claim fair use.
  4. "The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work."
    • If copying creates a serious negative impact on the sales or monetary value of the original work, even if you meet all three other fair use factors, your use may still be considered copyright infringement. 

Copyright for LBCC Faculty

According to LBCC Administrative Rules, each person is held individually responsible for following the established copyright policy and administrative rules. At LBCC, the Library has additional permissive uses of copyrighted materials. These provisions are contained in Section 108 of the US Copyright Law.


  • Don't copy a substantial amount from any one work. 
    • Use a small portion: one chapter, one poem, one article from a journal, or one image or graph from any particular work.
  • Use the minimum amount necessary to accomplish the pedagogical goal. 
    • You should be able to explain how each chapter or article relates to course outcomes or objectives.
  • Provide a citation for the work and a copyright notice.
  • Link rather than copy.
    • ‚ÄčEspecially when this is an option in digital environments (e.g. instructor websites, Moodle, etc.) 
  • Use library resources.
    • If the Libraries have subscription access to a particular article, a librarian can show you how to embed a stable link in your online course or syllabus.  
    • You can also put books on reserve at the Library.  
    • You could also check if there's an e-book available, or request that the Library purchase an e-book. 
  • Don't copy consumables. 
    • For instance tests, workbook sheets, etc.
  • When in doubt, get permission. 
    • If you need to copy a substantial amount of a copyrighted work, or if your use is in any other way impermissible, contact a librarian.

LBCC Policies Related to Copyright

For additional information please refer to LBCC's related Administrative Rules:

If you are a faculty member with questions about the ownership of your works, refer to the intellectual property section of your faculty contract.