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Copyright: Permissions

Advice for Faculty

Due to the complexities of copyright it is extremely difficult to create one resource or policy that addresses all situations. Generally speaking, however, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the format, my intended use of the format, and the amount that I wish to use?
  2. If the source is multimedia (i.e. DVD or CD) might I be better served by showing the work in class or placing it on reserve?  Note: Please contact your subject liaison if you would like the library to purchase a particular DVD to support your classroom teaching. 
  3. Will the amounts permitted in Section 107 (fair use) meet my needs? (See the Fair Use tab)
  4. If not, will the limits outlined in Section 110 meet my needs? (allows for classroom showing of legally acquired multimedia) 
  5. If the previous amounts are too restrictive, should I contact the publisher directly and request permission to use the material?

Seeking Permissions

Once you have identified the materials you want to use and determined that copyright permission is required, you must identify the copyright holder and secure permission to use their work.  A good explanation of the steps for securing permission for copyrighted works can be found on Columbia University’s Copyright Advisory Office website: This site provides direction for obtaining permission for many different types of materials. The site also provides several permission request templates that faculty can use when seeking permission from copyright right holders.

Head of Scholarly Communications