Copyright and Fair Use

Practical Tips

Practical Tips for Ensuring Fair Use of Copyrighted Works

  • Use the Digital Copyright Slider to determine whether an item is protected by copyright. Other online copyright tools are available from the Copyright Advisory Network.
  • Use the MSMC Fair Use Checklist to determine whether use of a copyrighted work falls within fair use provisions. Complete and retain the checklist as proof of a good faith effort to apply fair use.
  • Use the MSMC TEACH Act Checklist to determine whether use of a copyrighted work in a distance learning course is permissible within the requirements of the TEACH Act. Complete and retain the checklist as proof of compliance.
  • Be sure that eClass pages or any other class/faculty website where copyrighted work is posted is password-protected and accessible only by students enrolled in the course.
  • Include the full citation for any material distributed in class or posted to eClass.
  • When posting articles on eClass, link to articles in library databases whenever possible.
  • Limit online access (whether on eClass, course website, or library e-reserves) to one article per journal issue, one chapter per book, or less than 10% of a total work.
  • Obtain public performance rights for any film screening where the audience includes people who are not officially registered students viewing the film in a classroom setting. Contact your division chair for more information about obtaining performance rights.
  • Certain films owned by the MSMC Library have been purchased with public performance rights. These may be shown to any audience in any setting as long as no admission fee is charged. Contact the library (845-569-3299) for more information.
  • The library faculty have experience in analyzing fair use scenarios. Feel free to contact Barbara Petruzzelli, Director of the Library, at 845-569-3601 or, or Derek Sanderson, Access Services Librarian, at 845-569-3240 or, with questions you may have.
  • If you are working with a more complicated scenario not addressed in these guidelines, please contact Cathleen Kenny, Vice President for Finance and Administration, 845-569-3210 or, who is liaison to our college attorneys.