Faculty/Course Website Guidelines

The Fair Use provision of copyright law provides educators remarkable latitude in the use of copyrighted materials in the classroom or in course management systems.  However, much of this latitude disappears when the same materials are posted to publicly available websites.  The four-factor test for Fair Use may still be applied, but it is advisable to seek permission to post any copyrighted materials on an “open” website.


Faculty should observe the following best practice guidelines when posting material to publicly available personal or course websites (especially if hosted on the University’s servers).


  • Upload/post freely any materials which are in the public domain
  • Upload/post freely any materials for which you hold the copyright
  • If uploading articles or book chapters you have written, only post them on your website if you have retained copyright privileges.  If the publisher or other entity holds the rights, seek permission.
  • Unless they are in the public domain or you have secured permission to do so, do not post course readings to your open website.  Course readings used under Fair Use should be posted to E-Reserves or to Blackboard.
  • Seek permission from the copyright holder before posting any images, graphics, video or audio files.  If you do receive permission to post such material, be sure to cite the creator/rightsholder on your site.
  • If possible, provide a link to full-text or other copyrighted material instead of uploading/posting the material on your website. 

When to seek advice:

  • If you have any doubts about whether or not material is copyrighted, contact the Copyright Help Desk.
  • If you receive a complaint regarding copyrighted materials posted on your website, remove the material immediately and contact University Counsel.

Usage Guidelines A-Z