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Copyright & Fair Use: Faculty Guidelines

What Can You Use?

The Classroom Use Exemption applies in limited situations. To qualify for the exemption, you must be in a classroom, in person, and at a non-profit institution. If all of these apply to you then you have the broad rights to perform or display any works. 

Be careful!

The Classroom Use Exemption does not apply outside of the applied boundaries. It does not apply online, even on course websites. The exemption only applies to a performance or display so distributing copies is not included, but often falls under fair use.

Avoid posting materials to Blackboard if they do not meet one of the below requirements: 

  • The faculty member is the owner of the copyrighted material
  • The material is made available by linking rather than copying (see Blackboard tab)
  • The copyright owner has granted permission for use
  • The material is open access
  • The material is in the public domain
  • The use of the material falls within fair use under copyright law or a copyright exception

See the Blackboard page for in depth guidelines.

The University's Distance Education Policy is currently under review.


A derivative work is transformative if it uses a source work in a new or unexpected way. This type of use is often argued, successfully, at universities. The concept of transformative use is relatively new. It became widely known during the 1994 Supreme Court case involving the rap group, 2 Live Crew. The opening line of their song borrowed a segment of the lyrices from Roy Orbison's 
"Pretty Woman." The court ruled that the use was transformative fair use because it was such a small amount of the original song and "poked fun at the norms of what was "pretty." For more information on this case and others that involve transformative fair use click here

  • Questions to determine if the transformative use is considered fair use:

i. Does the copyrighted material help me make my new point?

ii. Will it help my readers or viewers get my point?

iii. Have I used no more than is needed to make my point? (Is it "just right"?)

Contact the Texas Wesleyan University Bookstore for information on coursepacks.

Common Misconceptions


The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) can help you design or redesign your course. If an area of your hybrid or online course is jeopardized by applying fair use, they can help find new options.

Want to Reuse this Content?

 This content is under a Creative Commons License that requires attribution to Texas Wesleyan University.