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Copyright Resource Guide

A guide intended to provide information and guidance related to copyright for the FCC Community.

Copyright Questions?


Copyright Question Image


For guidance or questions, please contact the Copyright Resource Officer, Colleen McKnight, Director of Library Services.

FCC Copyright Policy and Procedure


This guide is to provide information regarding copyright for Frederick Community College, and should not be considered legal advice. The user of this information retains legal responsibility for all decisions on copyright matters.

Links to resources on other websites are for convenience and are not endorsements. FCC is not responsible for information provided on other websites.

Section 110 of the Copyright Law

Section 110 of the copyright code allows instructors to perform or display copyrighted materials in the classroom without getting permission, but only if the following conditions are met:

1)  The copyrighted work is not an illegal copy.

2) It is displayed or performed in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction.

Keep in mind that Section 110 does not apply to making copies of materials for students or uploading those materials to Blackboard. It only allows for a legally obtained work to be displayed or performed in a classroom without getting public performance rights ort receiving permission from the copyright owner. 

For information about classroom handouts, see the classroom handout section below

For information about Blackboard use, see the Blackboard and the TEACH Act Section

Classroom Handouts

When determining fair use for handouts, the following criteria are applied in addition to the four fair use factors:

1) the work is new, or the use of the work is spontaneous, and permission could not be reasonably obtained;

 2) the work is only used one time, and is restricted to one instructor in one course

Copyright permission must be obtained for handouts that do not meet fair use and are:

1) planned in advance;

2) repeated from semester-to-semester;

3) involves works that existed long enough that one could reasonably be expected to obtain copyright permission in advance.

Read more about these guidelines from the Copyright Office:

Streaming Video through Commercial Streaming Platforms (i.e., Netflix, Amazon, etc)

Many films and tv shows are available for Streaming through companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. When you sign-up to use one of these services you do not own the content provided. Instead you are leasing access to the content, and in doing so sign a licensing agreement “not to archive, download, reproduce, distribute, modify, display, perform, publish, license, create derivative works from, offer for sale, or use content and information contained on or obtained from…the service.”

Unfortunately, this license agreement negates fair use and the classroom exception. It means you can not legally stream a film or tv show through one of these subscription platforms in your classroom. In addition, none of these big media companies provides a way for educational institutions or libraries to license the content for the campus community. If you would like students to access content only available on these platforms, they will need to use personal accounts to do so. 

Some exceptions:

  • YouTube videos available for free are not affected since you do not have to create an account to view them.
  • Netflix does allow some of its documentaries to be used for classroom viewing:

Course Packs

Course Packs are materials from numerous different sources bundled together and sold through the Bookstore or published directly in a Learning Management system. 

All articles, chapters, and other individual works in any print or electronic course pack require copyright permission unless:

  • the use is considered Fair Use;
  • there is a license that covers the use, like with Creative Commons or through a Library subscription;
  • the use meets the guidelines outlined in the TEACH Act discussed more in the next section.

Generally, if the course pack is being sold, the use would not be considered fair, and permission would be required for any copyrighted works. 

Course Reserves

Faculty may place original format copyrighted material on reserve through the Library. If the Library does not own an original, faculty may place a duplicate of a copyrighted work that meets Fair Use guidelines for only one semester. Faculty must obtain permission from the copyright holder for successive use of the duplicate. The Library does not rent, lease, or place rented material on reserve.

Frederick Community College prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of age, ancestry, citizenship status, color, creed, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, genetic information, marital status, mental or physical disability, national origin, race, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status in its activities, admissions, educational programs, and employment.