ATS Resources

Copyright Corner: Fair Use Guidelines

St. Mary’s University and Academic Technology Services highly recommends everyone in our community make every effort to comply with copyright law and fair use guidelines. It is imperative that the entire St. Mary's community abide by copyright law and fair use guidelines.

We understand that in today's digital age, the lines between what fair use and copyright infringement are sometimes gray at best. Therefore, we have provided various educational links to specific issues of copyright and fair use for your reference.

Provided as Educational Resources/Recommendations, Not Legal Counsel

The information contained on this site is not legal counsel to the university or to any members of the University community. ATS provides this site to the St. Mary's academic community as an educational service. We are not legal experts in Copyright and Fair Use law and the information provided is not to be construed as legal advice. Individuals and organizations should consult their own attorneys.

Areas Discussed on this Page

Copyright Guidelines for Teachers and Administrators

What do other institutions say about copyright issues?   

Education and Fair Use?

How does the TEACH Act affect distance education?

Every heard of Creative Commons?


Copyright Guidelines for Teachers and Administrators?   


The resources below were designed to help education leaders to better understand what they may do under the law. These documents are used with permission.

copyright primer image

Part One (PDF, 2,707 K):

  • Copyright Primer for Administrators
  • Five Steps to Avoiding Copyright Problems
  • Quick Quiz


Part Two (PDF, 634 K):

  • Chart: Copyright Guidelines for Administrators

Used with permission from Technology & Learning magazine.

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What do other institutions say about copyright issues?   


Stanford's Fair Use site

Stanford University's Copyright & Fair Use site covers the following:

  • Primary Materials
  • Copyright & Fair Use Overview Copyright & Fair Use Guide
  • Key Copyright Sites
  • Current Issues & Legislation
  • Resources for Librarians
  • Commentary & Analysis

Indiana University CMC

Indiana University's Copyright Management Center covers the following:

  • Copyright Quick Guide
  • Fair Use Issues
  • Permissions Information
  • Copyright Ownership
  • Future Developments

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Education and Fair Use?   


According to the Indiana University's Copyright Management Center (CMC), "Fair use may not be what you expect. Therefore, do not assume that a nonprofit, educational use or giving credit for the source of the work, or that limiting access to materials to students in the class creates an inherent fair use. Fair use depends on a balancing of four factors, which may be addressed by a variety of means. The four factors are:"

1. Purpose of the Use
2. Nature of the Work
3. Amount of the Work Used
4. Effect of the Use on the Market for the Original

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How does the TEACH Act Affect Distance Education?


The TEACH Act, which became law in November 2002, says it is not copyright infringement for teachers and students at an accredited, nonprofit educational institution to transmit performances and displays of copyrighted works as part of a course if certain conditions are met. If these conditions are not or cannot be met, use of the material will have to qualify as a fair use or permission from the copyright holder(s) must be obtained.

American Library Association Teach Act

American Library Association's Distance Education and TEACH Act covers the following:

  • Legislative History
  • New Copyright Law for Distance Education: The Meaning and Importance of the TEACH Act
  • Related Files

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    Creative Commons


Ever Heard of Creative Commons?


One of the newest resources on the Web is the idea of "some rights reserved."

Creative Commons uses private rights to create public goods: creative works set free for certain uses. Like the free software and open-source movements, Creative Commons' ends are cooperative and community-minded, but their means are voluntary and libertarian. They work to offer creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them — to declare "some rights reserved."

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Apple Overview



Johns Hopkins


Basic Release Forms for Creative Projects

StMU individual release form
word | pdf
StMU group release form
word | pdf
Generic individual release form
word | pdf

Blume Library Government Documents Support

Kathy Amen
Louis J. Blume Library
St. Mary's University
One Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, TX 78228
Ph: 210-431-2299 ext. 1312
Fax: 210-436-3782

Library Web site

"Making Copyright Decisions"

Contact Jeff Schomburg, Director of Faculty Instructional Technology, at 431-5073 to learn more.