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Fair Use Q&A

Posted By Patricia Aufderheide, American U, Monday, March 4, 2019

Dear ICA,

I am a professor at a State University. A few students expressed interest in continuing the research I started for an academic research study. I collected material from a variety of sources on a university website, including entire copies of articles, some videos, and many archived web pages. I would like to give them access to this collection but I am wary of copyright issues. Can I do so without falling into copyright infringement?

Thank you,


Dear Saver,

Glad to hear your students want to continue your work! Fair use might be a useful tool in helping your students with access to the material. Take a look at the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication. Section Four, “Storing Copyrighted Material In Collections and Archives,” describes both why this kind of archiving activity falls under fair use, and also under what limitations. Note these limitations carefully, and make sure that your students and anyone who has access to your private collection understand them too.


Patricia Aufderheide for ICA

Got a question? paufder@american.edu

Tags:  March 2019 

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