College of Medicine Guidelines for Use of Copyrighted Materials in Education

The College of Medicine, with the assistance of the Library and OED, has developed guidelines to assist the faculty in making informed decisions about the use of copyrighted materials in their teaching. Being aware of and following good copyright and Fair Use practices is important as there are both institutional and faculty liabilities for copyright infractions. A committee was formed to prepare these guidelines, provide additional copyright resources, and provide assistance with questions about copyright and Fair Use. These Guidelines were approved by the Executive Committee of the College of Medicine on 4/7/03, and by Harold Evans, JD, of Williams and Anderson LLP, 4/8/03.

Fair Use General Principles

  • The concept of Fair Use allows the use of copyrighted materials, such as text, graphics, illustrations, and photos, in face-to-face teaching as well as materials assigned to students for directed self-study or review.
  • Lack of copyright notice does not mean that the materials are NOT copyrighted! Almost everything is copyrighted with the exception of public domain, government works, materials at least 70 years old, and materials made available free of restriction by the originator or copyright owner.
  • Fair Use does not preempt license agreements. This is especially important for CD-ROMs, Website, electronic Library materials, image collections that are licensed.

Knowledge of Fair Use Factors

Each Fair Use question must be considered in context with consideration given to all four key factors. The relative importance of the factors vary with the circumstances, but all are important. The four factors are:

  • Purpose and character of use (must be nonprofit educational use);
  • Nature of copyrighted work (factual works are more likely to be considered fair use than creative works);
  • Amount and substantiality of portion used in relation to whole (only small portions may be used);
  • Effect on potential market for or value of the copyrighted work (ask: if use was widespread, would copyright owner lose money?).

Limitations on Fair Use

Fair use is more likely if these actions are taken:

  • Non-profit educational use, peer conferences, and student presentations.
  • Restrict access to enrolled students only.
  • Limit the portion of copyrighted materials used (one article from a journal, a chapter of a book, a small portion of the images in a text, etc.)
  • Limit the time period of use (a semester or a year – the length of the course)
  • Include a notice such as “This CD-ROM may include copyrighted materials provided for the personal educational use of enrolled students and may not be further redistributed.” Inform your students.
  • Attribute the work to the copyright holder for every copyright item you use (Copyright notice, copyright symbol ?, year of publication, name of copyright holder) whenever possible.
  • No copying of software is permitted, except for shareware, freeware and public domain software.


Can I use copyrighted materials when I am teaching in a lecture hall or classroom or other face-to-face situations?

You can use just about any copyrighted material in your classroom as many times as you want across semesters and years. You can show them in PowerPoint lectures, show a video or animation, play a sound clip, etc.

Can I distribute materials to students to use in the classroom or in preparation for class?

You can make one copy per student if you put a copyright notice on the first page (specific to the article if possible). You can not make an anthology of copyrighted works that functions as a separate text. For repeated use by the same instructor in the same class, permission is required.

How can I make PowerPoint lectures, documents, and images available to the students outside the classroom?

  • Limit access to students currently enrolled in the UAMS COM via password.
  • Copyright notices must be posted.
  • Use the UAMS Library’s “electronic reserves”. Each course can have an electronic space where the course director and others he/she designates can place materials for students to access.
    • Types of materials: images, PowerPoint lectures, documents, video and sound clips, multimedia works, links to articles in UAMS Library electronic journal (repeated use okay as long as the Library licenses that electronic journal), links to educational websites.
    • Journal articles not owned by UAMS may be posted in reserve system for that school year (Fair Use for one time period, no repeated use).
    • Fair Use and its limitations, such as limiting to specific time period, limiting portion of copyright material used, still apply.

Can I download images, animations, and other materials from the Internet and put them in PowerPoint, computer-based tests, or handouts?

  • Images, animations, and other educational materials on the Internet are copyrighted (that’s the law!). Read what the website says about using their images. Fair Use and its limitations apply to materials you download from the Internet unless the website says they are ‘copyright-free’.
  • Exception: Fair Use does not apply to websites that license images or other materials for a fee.

Can I use websites with my students?

Any website that is not protected from your use by password or other means is available to you to link to, to display in the classroom, or to direct your students to use.

What are the penalties for the individual for copyright infringement?

  • Civil Penalties of up to $30,000 per infringed work and up to $150,000 per work if willful.
  • Criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for willful infringements.
  • Additionally, faculty and staff of the College of Medicine who willfully fail to adhere to the College of Medicine Guidelines for Use of Copyrighted Materials in Education may be subject to dismissal from the College.

More information:

  • UAMS copyright counsel directs UAMS faculty to the University of Texas Crash Course in Copyright for extensive in-depth information about copyright and Fair Use:
  • UAMS College of Medicine Website contains guidelines for UAMS College of Medicine faculty.
  • UAMS Copyright Website contains information specific to UAMS.

Contact Jan Hart, UAMS Library, 686-6751, for assistance. If additional assistance is needed, Ms. Hart will contact Harold Evans of the law firm of Williams & Anderson who has been retained by UAMS to advise on copyright issues. Committee members: Jay Menna and Jan Hart, co-chairs; Linda Deloney, Mike Petty, David Wennerstrom, and Robin Jones.