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Copyright and Accessibility: Copyright Dos and Don'ts

Resources on copyright and accessibility
  • Make sure that copyrighted work is properly licensed before sharing. This includes checking for open licensing, Creative Commons licensing, or verifying that the library has access to the resource in our databases or collections.
  • If a work is not available, use a fair use checklist such as this downloadable one from Columbia University to determine whether you feel fair use applies. You can also use this interactive tool adapted from the checklist shared by Ohio State University.
  • If you are teaching online, once Columbia College has an institutional policy for copyright in place, the TEACH Act may apply.
  • Replace materials with Creative Commons- and open-licensed resources if you feel fair use may not apply. Alternatively, reach out to the library to see if a title or work can be added to the collection for sharing with your students!
  • Even when sharing freely online materials (such as social media, uploaded videos, and podcasts), be sure to give credit and attribution. Likewise, don't download and embed; make sure to share links to the platforms so that revenue shares go to the individual with copyright.
  • Don't share pirated materials, even if they are hosted on an .edu domain.
  • Don't share entire books unless they are licensed under an open or Creative Commons license. If the book is available as an e-book in the Columbia College collection, the link may be shared.
  • Don't share materials that can't be justified under fair use.
  • Don't hotlink works or download them from platforms unnecessarily, such as downloading a YouTube video that is available as a YouTube link. This draws attention from the original copyright owner.