Copyright compliance guidelines


The Copyright Compliance Guidelines set forth below are intended to assist faculty, staff and students in lawfully using copyrighted materials. These guidelines set forth examples when use of a copyrighted work for educational purposes is considered a "fair use," and thus permission from the copyright holder is not necessary. These guidelines are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Use of a copyrighted work beyond these guidelines may still constitute fair use when balancing the four fair use factors, which are set forth in the SCAD's Copyright Compliance Policy. When in doubt or if the use is clearly not a fair use, obtain written permission before using copyrighted materials. Professors are encouraged to document their use of copyrighted materials in the classroom (physical or digital) in case any questions come up.

Print media

A. When used for research purposes:
Faculty members and students may make a single copy of any of the following copyrighted materials for scholarly research purposes or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  • A chapter from a book (never the entire book).
  • An article from a periodical or newspaper.
  • A short story, essay or poem (limit to one work).
  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper.

B. When used for face-to-face classroom discussions:
Faculty members may make multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per student in a course) of a copyrighted work for face-to-face classroom use or discussion provided that:

  • The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity (see requirements below);
  • The copying meets the cumulative effect test (see requirements below); and
  • All copies should include a notice that the materials are protected by copyright law.

Examples of works that satisfy the brevity test include:

  • A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or, from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
  • Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.
  • One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.

To satisfy the spontaneity test:

  • The copying must be at the instance and inspiration of the faculty member; and
  • The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

To satisfy the cumulative effect test:

  • Limit the copies made to one course;
  • Do not copy more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts from the same author, or more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term (does not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers); and
  • Do not make multiple copies more than nine times for one course during one class term (does not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers).

When making multiple copies avoid:

  • Copying different materials as a substitute for the purchase of books, publisher's reprints or periodicals;
  • Copying to create, replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works;
  • Copying works intended to be "consumable" in the course of studying or teaching such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets; and
  • Charging students beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.

Faculty members should obtain written permission before making multiple copies when: the work is used for commercial purposes (i.e., for profit); the work is used repeatedly (i.e., for the same class from quarter to quarter or for several different courses at the same or different institutions); or the work is used in its entirety and it is longer than 2,500 words.

Digital images and the Internet

The same copyright protections exist regardless of whether materials are derived from print media or electronic media, such as from a database, CD-ROM or the Internet. When using digital images from the Internet, faculty, staff and students should assume the images are protected by copyright.

When making a copy or downloading an image from an electronic source, find out if the copyright holder has provided information on how the image may be used. If the terms are restrictive, consider searching for another image. It is often possible to find an image to suit your needs that is either in the public domain (see Copyright Compliance Policy) or is available for use with minimal restrictions or requirements.

If a particular image is necessary for research or educational purpose, use the image in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Limit access to all images except small, low resolution "thumbnails" to students enrolled in the class and administrative staff as needed, and terminate access to students at the end of the class term.
  • Faculty may use thumbnail images in presentations at peer conferences where the images are subject to criticism or commentary.
  • Students may download and print images for personal study and for use in the preparation of academic course assignments; publicly display images in artwork prepared for course assignments; and keep work containing images in their portfolios.
  • Do not post copyrighted images on a website (regardless of whether the website is for personal use or is affiliated with SCAD or any other party) without a written license.
  • When using digital images (whether licensed or not), always include any copyright notices contained on the original and properly credit the photographer.

Other than as expressly permitted in these Copyright Compliance Guidelines, SCAD faculty, staff and students shall not download, copy, share or distribute unlicensed copies of software, pictures, MP3s, movies, games, music, electronic books or any other copyrighted materials.


When using copyrighted work in eLearning, small portions, limited times and limited access are the key and the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Incorporate performances of copyrighted works sparingly and only if a faculty member possesses a legal copy;
  • Include a notice to students that the materials are copyrighted, and that students may not copy (by saving the materials to their computer or otherwise), modify, display or distribute the materials;
  • Limit access to students enrolled in the class and administrative staff as needed;
  • Terminate access at the end of the class session; and
  • Obtain written permission for materials that will be used repeatedly for the same class.

Multimedia projects

Faculty and students may use limited amounts of copyrighted materials when creating multimedia projects. Multimedia projects are integrated presentations that incorporate faculty member's or student's original material (e.g., course notes or commentary) with various other copyrighted media, including, but not limited to, motion media, music, textual material, graphics, illustrations, photographs and digital software.

Students may:

  • Use copyrighted works when producing a multimedia project for a specific course; and
  • Perform and display such multimedia projects in connection with the course and in their portfolio for job interviews or as supporting materials for application to graduate school.

Faculty members may:

  • Use copyrighted works when producing a multimedia project in support of curriculum-based instructional activities; and
  • Use such multimedia projects for (i) assignments to students for student self-study; (ii) remote instruction, provided the network is secure and is designed to prevent unlawful copying; (iii) peer conferences, presentations or workshops; and (iv) their professional portfolio.

The use of copyrighted materials in multimedia projects is also subject to the following limitations:

  • Multimedia projects may only be used for a period of up to two years. After two years, written permission must be obtained for the copyrighted material used in the project before using the project again.
  • For motion media, no more than 10 percent of the work or three minutes, whichever is less, may be used.
  • For textual works, no more than 10 percent of the work or 1,000 words, whichever is less, may be used. An entire poem of less than 250 words may be used, but no more than three poems by one poet or five poems by different poets in an anthology, may be used. For poems exceeding 250 words, 250 words may be used, but no more than three excerpts from one poet or five excerpts by different poets in the same anthology may be used.
  • For music, lyrics and music videos, no more than 10 percent of the work, but no more than 30 seconds from an individual musical work, may be used.
  • For illustrations or photographs, no more than five images from one artist or photographer and no more than 10 percent or 15 images from a collection, whichever is less, may be used.
  • For numerical data sets, no more than 10 percent or 2,500 fields or cell entries from a copyrighted database or data table, whichever is less, may be used.

Obtain permission for using copyright materials in multimedia projects when:

  • Using the project for commercial or non-educational purposes;
  • Making more than two copies of the project; or
  • Distributing the project beyond the scope of these guidelines.


Faculty, staff and students should limit the use of copyrighted music as follows:

  • Sheet music can be copied only for performances and in emergencies to replace purchased copies that for any reason are not available (replace emergency copies with purchased originals when available);
  • A single copy of recordings of student performances can be made for evaluation or rehearsal purposes and may be retained by SCAD or the faculty member; and
  • A single copy of a sound recording (such as a tape, disc or cassette) can be made for classroom use from an original is owned by SCAD or the faculty member for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations.

Always include any copyright notice on the original and appropriate citations and attributions to the source.


SCAD provides a solution for faculty and staff who need to distribute excerpts from copyrighted materials to students. The college's bookstore contracts with a private publishing company to create custom course packets. The company obtains copyright permission from appropriate sources and collates published materials into custom packets that students may purchase from the bookstore. To create custom course packets, professors must complete order forms and submit all materials for copying to the bookstore no less than six weeks prior to the start of each quarter. Reorders of packets may be made each quarter using the assigned document number, including any additions or deletions to the materials. Reorders also must be submitted no less than six weeks prior to the start of each quarter, as written permission to copy materials must be obtained each quarter. Faculty and staff who have questions concerning the process for obtaining custom course packets should call the dean of communications at 912.525.5225.