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Copyright FAQs - Twin Cities Library, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

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Copyright FAQs

Below are our most frequently asked questions and classroom-scenarios related to copyright in academia.

1. Can I use Harvard Business Review articles in class?

No. Harvard Business Publishing has a strict copyright policy that prohibits using material from any of their publications (articles, case studies) accessible through academic databases as assigned course material. This ban includes articles from the Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Publishing also restricts linking to their articles through Blackboard / Engage. Should you wish to do any of the above, you will need to contact Harvard Business Publishing for rates and permission.

These copyright restrictions are included at the end of all HBR articles; please refer to their copyright statement for more information (included below). A good rule of thumb to follow before linking to or requiring the reading of any journal article is to check each individual publisher's copyright statement, usually available at the end of each journal article.

Harvard Business Review Notice of Use Restrictions, May 2009. Harvard Business Review and Harvard Business Publishing Newsletter content on EBSCOhost is licensed for the private individual use of authorized EBSCOhost users. It is not intended for use as assigned course material in academic institutions nor as corporate learning or training materials in businesses. Academic licensees may not use this content in electronic reserves, electronic course packs, persistent linking from syllabi or by any other means of incorporating the content into course resources. Business licensees may not host this content on learning management systems or use persistent linking or other means to incorporate the content into learning management systems. Harvard Business Publishing will be pleased to grant permission to make this content available through such means. For rates and permission, contact

Faculty who wish to assign HBR cases and articles as required readings should work with the Twin Cities Campus Bookstore to create coursepacks that students would then purchase in order to comply with copyright restrictions.

2. Can I include images from the Internet in PowerPoint presentations?

Yes. The Copyright Act allows for display of images in the classroom without infringing on copyright as long as each image source is attributed. Should an instructor wish to post the PowerPoint to Blackboard / Engage or use the PowerPoint semester after semester, the instructor needs to check the copyright restrictions of each image. Verify that the images may be legally downloaded, used for non-profit, educational purposes, and that use of the image fits under the fair use doctrine of the Copyright Act (librarians will assist you with this). Written permission from the copyright holder for repeated showings of the image may need to be obtained.

To locate images with education-friendly copyright restrictions, please visit the images page.

3. Can I share portions of videos and audio clips through Blackboard / Engage?

Yes, with a grain of salt. The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) allows for instructors to electronically share "reasonable and limited portions" of almost any type of work-including video and audio clips. The Act does not authorize an electronic media free-for-all, however. All media shared must be legally-made copies. (Use the Fair Use Checklist created by the Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office to determine if you can share material without obtaining copyright permission.)

Instructors and students must be made aware of and held responsible to abide by all copyright restrictions on the digital files. These restrictions include only showing materials directly related to class content, not retaining copies of the materials after the course has ended, and avoiding unauthorized distribution of the materials. Remember, digital resources have the same copyright protection as do tangible, physical resources.

Please contact the Director of Instructional Technology Bob Andersen for more information about including media in your courses.

4. How much of a book can I copy and share with students (in print or electronically)?

The educational fair use of a copyrighted work takes into account the brevity of the portion of the work copied and shared. The 2012 decision in the Georgia State University e-reserves copyright case created, in writing, a strict standard for the amount of a work that may be shared under fair use:

  • 10% of any book with ten or fewer chapters, or;
  • a single chapter of any book with ten or more chapters.1

Assigned textbooks are included as a permissible type of material to excerpt. The faculty member or Twin Cities Library must own a copy of the entire book in order to share a portion of it with students; books obtained through interlibrary loan may not be posted online.

While the Georgia State University ruling did not specifically address electronic journal articles, the consensus among the academic community is that sharing one journal article from a single issue is permissible. The faculty member must own a copy of the article in order to share it with students; articles obtained through interlibrary loan may not be posted online.

You in good faith need to decide if the amount of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole is small enough to be permissibly and fairly used without obtaining copyright permission. (Use the Fair Use Checklist created by the Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office to determine if you can share material without obtaining copyright permission.)

All uploaded material needs to have a copyright statement included as the first page.


1. Smith, K. (2012, May 12). The GSU decision—not an easy road for anyone [Web log post]. Retrieved from