Copyright Guidelines and Resources

Linking Rather than Copying

Linking provides important opportunities to use teaching materials available on the web or from resources licensed by University Libraries. The link that you provide in Blackboard for your students does not copy the content but simply directs students to it, thereby minimizing copyright issues of reproduction and distribution.

You may not need to secure permission or analyze fair use and other opportunities at all in order to use linking strategies. On the other hand, some materials on the web disappear in a short time. Web-based materials are dynamic and they themselves may change or the underlying URLs may change, sometimes soon, sometimes never.

Electronic resources available through University Libraries are more stable because of efforts in the library and publishing communities emphasizing “durable links.” These materials offer key resources for teaching and University Libraries has developed information about linking to UofL materials.

Specific limits and licenses apply to and govern the use of electronic resources in the UofL community. The licenses restrict the use of the materials to faculty, staff, and students at UofL and require logging into the UofL system for accessing them. Electronic resources are accessible from home through University Libraries and the “Connect from Home” service. License agreements also prohibit any commercial use of the materials and generally limit all uses to personal research and scholarly purposes.

Investigating whether a particular article or resource is available electronically through University Libraries is an important consideration in identifying possible teaching resources. You should pursue this alternative first in assessing possibilities for serving your teaching goals and addressing student needs.

Other possible resources for linking to materials available on the Web include “open access” journals that offer growing scholarship, student readings and other Web-based resources made available under Creative Commons licenses. Both of these opportunities generally lessen potential copyright concerns, and some Creative Commons licenses allow full copying and other uses with simple attribution. You will need to pay attention to the specific terms of the Creative Commons licensed on the work of particular interest to you.

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