Copyright Basics

Copyright Overview
Fair Use
© Infringement Penalties
US Legal System

For Instructors

Face-to-Face Instruction
Virtual Instruction

For Researchers

Use of © Works
Author Rights
Thesis/ Dissertation

Copyright Resources

Campus Resources
Other Resources
UCO Publications
Reporting Alleged © Infringement

Copyright Exceptions

Face-to-Face Instruction

The traditional classroom or face-to-face instruction is when the instructor and the students of a nonprofit educational institution are in a place devoted to instruction and the teaching and learning take place at the same time. In this setting all performances and displays of a work are allowed.


  1. All materials must be legally acquired.
  2. Teaching activities must take place in a classroom or a similar place devoted to instruction.



Copyrighted materials used in face-to-face instruction include:

If the use falls outside the classroom experience, then the Fair Use Analysis should be applied. Permission is required if the use is not fair use and the education exceptions do not apply.












All types of music may be performed in the classroom provided it is for instructional not entertainment purposes.


A CD of an early work by the Beatles and a current piece by Paul McCartney may be played to demonstrate the differences in music styles over the years for a music appreciation class. Playing the CD for background music while students are taking an exam would not be permissible under this exception.







Printed Word

All types of printed materials are allowed to be displayed or performed in the classroom provided it is for instructional and not entertainment purposes.

Under fair use, a copy of a journal article, or a book chapter, generally may be distributed in class. However, there are some restrictions.

Example #1:

Distributing different chapters of the same book during each class session so that students will not have to purchase the book is not permissible.

Example #2:

Copies of workbooks or standardized tests cannot be made and distributed. These are considered consumables and are meant to be purchased by each user.

Example #3:

Compiling a coursepack to distribute to students is not allowed. Instructors must receive permission from copyright holders to compile a coursepack. Many times there is a fee associated with the permission.








All displays of still images may be shown in the classroom provided it is for instructional, not entertainment, purposes.


  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Slides








Audiovisual materials may be shown in the classroom provided it is for instructional not entertainment purposes.


An Instructor may show portions of the movie Gone with the Wind to illustrate certain historical points for a history class. However, the instructor may not show the movie to the students as a reward for having a good semester.





Exceptions Home





The mission of the University Copyright Office is to educate the Purdue University community on copyright..
The information contained on the UCO site should not be considered legal advice.
Individuals should consult their own attorneys.

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