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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Copyright & Fair Use

A guide & list of resources for EWU faculty, staff & students regarding copyright & fair use.

Online Use of Copyrighted Works in Courses

There are appropriate ways to use copyrighted works in courses in an online environment. More is allowable in a closed online course site such as Canvas where only enrolled students can see the materials than on a general course web page, wiki or blog. Additionally, it is ok to use library journal/database materials for students as long as they log in to the library system to access the materials. Here is a chart to help you understand appropriate uses of copyrighted materials in courses in an online environment.


Generally, copying and posting materials from a textbook is not allowed. Students should purchase the book instead. The exception to this is when copyright royalties are paid through the copyright clearance center or when written publisher permission has been granted.


Linking to websites is allowable. The person originally publishing the website is responsible for gaining clearnance to any copyright work posted. Realize however, that website addresses can change and content may be taken down. 


As listed above, links to web pages with media embedded are allowed. It is possible to order streaming copies of many videos through the library. These are then linked to the related library listings page. Commerical media in general may not be converted to online. The primary exception is for fully online courses. This material is covered by the TeachACT. (See Distance Education tab for more information.) 

Linking to Articles from Canvas

Do you have an article in one of our databases that you'd like your students to read for class?  The best way to ensure compliance with copyright restrictions, or database vendor contracts, is to link to the full text of that article.  To do so, find the persistent (aka permanent, stable or Permalink) URL and paste it into your Canvas site. 

To make sure that the article is accessible from off-campus, it must go through our proxy server. If you see ewu in the URL, it will work off-campus.

If you don't see ewu in the URL, then you need to copy/paste the URL for our proxy server []  in front of the persistent URL of the article.   

For more detailed information on how to do it, see the Help Sheet below, or contact the JFK reference desk for assistance.

Please contact Instructional Technology for help with placing electronic content directly into Canvas.