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Copyright Policy

This document is a policy statement only and is not intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.

For more information, please contact Jessica Bell, Director of the Office of the Library and Instructional Design, MGH Institute of Health Professions.

Classroom Use

Faculty members may make and distribute copies (paper or digital) of copyrighted works if the situation meets the following standards:

  • The materials were acquired legally and in good faith.
  • Face-to-face: instructors may display or perform any work related to the curriculum during a class session, regardless of the format.
  • Virtual: instructors are limited to portions that may reasonably be used during a class session or to prepare students for an in-class discussion. 
  • In the case of Treadwell Library subscriptions, the license negotiated with the publisher allows distribution.
  • Linking to materials in databases licensed by Treadwell Library is almost always a safe way to “distribute” materials to your students. Learn how to find stable links to articles in library databases.

    Please do not post the PDF of an article to your D2L course unless you are confident that action falls within Treadwell's negotiated license or the fair use guidelines (check both; these can be mutually exclusive).

  • The number of copies is in proportion to the number of students or the electronic access is limited to those students registered for the class and to the timeframe of that specific course.

  • The length of the work to be reproduced falls within the “amount and substantiality of the portion used” of the fair use guidelines.
  • The inspiration to use the work and the distribution of the work are in such close proximity as to preclude purchase or permission (beware this one is much tougher to defend since permissions are easier and easier to acquire).
  • The first page of the material includes the following copyright notice: this material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).
  • The copying does not negatively affect the market for the work.