Skip to Main Content

Faculty Resources


Carlow University recognizes and adheres to federal copyright laws and guidelines. Copyright law applies to the use, performance, and display of copyrighted works. All members of the University community—faculty, staff, and students—are expected to obtain permission from copyright owners for uses protected by copyright law.

The Copyright Act of 1976 provides "authors [and creators] of original works protection for their intellectual property in any work exhibiting minimal creativity and fixed in a tangible mode of expression." One no longer needs to apply for a copyright to have their work protected under the law. Copyright protections cover published or unpublished intellectual property in all formats and media by authors, artists, composers, and creators.

The unauthorized use of copyrighted works is copyright infringement and violators may be subject to civil and criminal penalties under federal law. Fines range from $30,000–$150,000 depending on the nature and extent of the infringement.

Grace Library's Copyright Policy prohibits the following:

  • Copying and/or distribution of copyrighted work that exceeds the limits established by the Fair Use Doctrine.
  • Illegal downloading, installing, or sharing the copyrighted electronic work of others.

U.S. Copyright Law, December 2022

Fair Use

The general rule is that copyrighted work may not be appropriated by others through duplication or dissemination without the creator's permission. There are exceptions to copyright restrictions that apply to academic institutions.

Grace Library supports the use of copyrighted work that falls under the fair use doctrine, which is codified in Section 107 of the Copyright Act. This statute establishes that the use of copyrighted work "for purposes such as criticism, comment...teaching, scholarship, or research" is fair use. This is not limitless.

For the use of copyrighted work to qualify as fair use under the statute, the following factors must be considered:

  • The purpose and character of the use,
  • The nature of the copyrighted work,
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Grace Library supports the right to use copyrighted materials outlined in the exemptions for fair use in face-to-face teaching, online teaching, research, and library circulation of materials. The library is committed to educating its community on the legal and ethical uses of copyrighted work.

U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index

ALA Office for Information Technology Policy's Copyright Advisory Network Fair Use Evaluator

ALA Office for Information Technology Policy's Exceptions for Instructors tool

Film Use

Grace Library supports the viewing/showing of films for educational purposes. The viewing or showing of films outside of personal use is governed by United States Copyright Law. All faculty, staff, and students are required to meet the conditions in the Fair Use Doctrine when using film. This policy applies to both physical media such as CDs and DVDs, as well as electronic media, including any streaming video databases subscribed to by the library.

The unauthorized use of copyrighted work is copyright infringement and violators may be subject to civil and criminal penalties under federal law. Fines range from $30,000–$150,000 depending on the nature and extent of the infringement.

For the use of film to qualify as a fair use exemption from copyright restrictions, the user must meet all following conditions:

  • The use of the film must be related to a course, its content, or learning outcomes.
  • The entire audience must be involved in the teaching activity.
  • The entire audience must be in the same room (if in a face-to-face course) and must be either students in the related course or faculty/staff members.
  • Teaching activities must accompany the film and must be conducted by a non-profit educational institution.
  • The film viewing must take place in a classroom or similar place (physical or virtual) devoted to instruction.
  • The faculty member responsible for the film use must have no reason to believe that the DVD or streaming video was unlawfully made or made available.

Additional conditions pertaining to online courses:

  • Use a permalink to a video rather than making or posting digital copies. This ensures that the film is still available with permission from the copyright holder.
  • If copying a brief portion of a video, make sure the copy meets the requirements applicable to text copying, primarily brevity and purpose.
  • Use streaming video that limits a student's ability to download, copy, or redistribute the material.
  • Provide attribution to the copyright owner.

If the use of a film does not meet all the listed requirements above, it is not protected or lawful under the Fair Use exemption. Faculty, staff, or students who show films not meeting these conditions must obtain copyright permission.