Skip to main content

Introduction to Research Methods: Traditional Classroom Instruction

Traditional Classroom Instruction

Traditional Classroom Instruction / Physical Face-to-Face Instruction:

The Classroom Use Exemption (17 U.S.C. §110(1)) applies to the limited use of legitimate (legally acquired) copies of music, printed word, images or video copyrighted materials in a traditional classroom or face-to-face instruction setting when the instructor(s) and the student(s) of a non-for-profit educational institution are in a place devoted to instruction and the teaching and learning take place at the same time. When all of these conditions are simultaneously met, the exemption gives both instructors and students performance and display rights any works. 

The Classroom Use Exemption does not give instructors and students the right to make or distribute (handout) copies of works in the classroom. The right to make or distribute (handout) copies of works, for which you do not own the copyright, in the classroom comes from First Sale Doctrine (17 U.S.C. §109), Fair Use (17 U.S.C. §107), Public Domain, Open Access, and/or License Agreement/Terms of Use. With the recent emergence of copyright litigation in academic settings, the commonly accepted library guidelines for Fair Use are starting to transition from the traditional guidelines discussed below to concept of the "the heart of work" being the most heavily protected by copyright law.  See the Fair Use tab for more details.


Some of the traditional library guidelines for Fair Use are listed below:


Single copying for teachers

While exact measurements of fair use are not known, the following guidelines should help:

* A chapter from a book

* An article from a periodical or newspaper

* A short story, short essay, or short poem, whether or not from a collective work

* A short, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper


Multiple copies for classroom use

While exact measurements of fair use are not known, the following guidelines should help:

§  Copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity

* Poems less than 250 words

* Articles, stories, or essays of 2,500 words or less

* Excerpt from a longer work (10% of work or 1,000 words, whichever is less)

* Two pages (maximum) from an illustrated work less than 2,500 words

* One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue

§  Meets the cumulative effect test  

* No more than one copy per student. Usage must be “at the instance of inspiration of a single teacher" and when the time frame doesn't allow enough time for asking permission

* Only for one course

* No more than 9 instances per class per term (current news publications such as newspapers can be used more often) 

* Don't create anthologies

* Don't do it every term. For repeated use over multiple school terms, permission will need to be obtained from the copyright holder.

* Copies may be made only from legally acquired originals

* If time allows, always seek permission from the publisher

* Can't be directed by "higher authority"  (i.e. your boss, supervisor, etc.)

* Copyright can't be a substitute for buying (i.e., faculty who do not want to make their students purchase the book) 

§  The materials shared must be given proper credit and copyright notices must be displayed