Skip to main content

Copyright and Fair Use for Faculty

Background of copyright and fair use for educators, with an emphasis on FAQs for using library and other resources in compliance with copyright law. This site is not legal advice, and the authors are not legal counsel to the university.


Reproduction, distribution or downloading of images is subject to copyright limitations. Although  the Classroom Use Exemption (17 U.S.C. 110(1) gives both faculty and students broad rights to display works, it does not pertain to copies that are not legally acquired.To qualify for  the exemption, you must be at a nonprofit educational institution and be engaged in face to face instruction in a classroom or a similar place of instruction. Fair Use generally covers copying of images for teaching in a nonprofit educational institution.  The Visual Rights Association's  Resources Providing Guidance on Academic Use of Images includes a "Statement on Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study" (see Section II A).   This statement describes 6 uses of copyrighted works that are considered to fall within the parameters of Fair Use.

Before using a work for your teaching or research, you should determine if it is falling within or outside Fair Use; if it is falling outside, then you need to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Copyright Free Image Resources          

The Adelphi Libraries subscribe to ARTSTOR, which has images that can be used with in the classroom; these can be linked to from Moodle.

Images from these internet resources can also be used for both face-to-face teaching and distance education settings.


According to Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) guidelines up to 10%, but no more than 30 seconds, of the music and lyrics from an individual musical work (or in the aggregate of extracts from an individual work), whether the musical work is embodied in copies, or audio or audiovisual works, may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as a part of a multimedia project, and any alterations to a musical work shall not change the basic melody or the fundamental character of the work.