Link or Upload?

As a general rule, providing links to articles and ebooks available in the library's electronic collection is more efficient and legal and will not raise any copyright flags. Librarians have negotiated the database licenses that permit linking, printing and limited downloads. [see Creating Links to Articles in Library Databases]

Posting Course Materials Online

General Guidelines

Faculty have several options for making course materials (text, audio and visual) available to students.

The Options

A. Library E-Reserves
  • The Hamilton College Library provides an electronic reserve service.
  • Links to Library Reserves will be placed in each course's Blackboard space.
  • Library staff will ensure proper copyright notices appear on course materials and address any copyright-related issues with the faculty member. [more info]
B. Blackboard
  • Provide links to copyrighted articles in the library's licensed databases, instead of uploading pdfs, whenever possible. No further permission is needed.  [more info]
  • Works in the public domain (generally material published before 1923) are not protected by copyright and can be used freely.
  • Works made available under a Creative Commons license can be used according to the terms specified in the license.
  • If an item is not available in the library's electronic collection and is not in the public domain, faculty should perform a fair use analysis for each item to determine whether permission should be obtained and to demonstrate that you have made a good faith effort to determine that your use is fair. If your intended use appears to fall outside of fair use you should seek permission from the rights holder.
  • Faculty are responsible for securing permissions to post copyrighted material. Permission usually requires the payment of royalty fees. A reference librarian can assist you in determining who holds the copyright.
C. Require Purchase by Students
  • If one or more required readings are substantial in length and the purchase cost is reasonable, consider requiring students to purchase the item(s). Students' personal copies of legally acquired copyrighted material should pose no concern to the copyright owner.
D. Coursepacks
  • Consider using coursepacks if permission to post materials electronically is denied by the copyright owner, but making hardcopies available for purchase by students is permissible.

Creating Links to Articles in Library Databases

To avoid any copyright concerns it is always advisable to provide students with links to articles. Many of the library's licensed full text databases provide reliable and stable URLs (also called permanent or durable URLs) that may be copied and pasted into Blackboard or a syllabus. A reference librarian can assist you in creating stable links to articles in library databases.

Tip:   Making a stable article URL accessible from Off Campus

To insure that you and your students can access the articles from off campus you'll need to create links that allow the library to authenticate the individual before they can view the item at the database website. Each URL should have the following prefix appended to the beginning of the URL string.

Simply copy and paste the following text to the beginning of the stable URL:  https://ez.hamilton.edu/login?url=

Examples of stable article URLs in Library Databases:
EBSCO (i.e., Academic Search Premier)
  • Locate the article. See Example
  • Click on the title for the Abstract view.
  • On the right, under Tools, click Permalink.
  • Locate the article. See Example
  • Click View Citation.
  • Copy the Article Stable URL.
  • Add the EZproxy prefix to the article stable URL.
LexisNexis Academic
  • Locate the article. See Example
  • Click on the Copy Document Link and follow the instructions.
  • Add the EZproxy prefix to the document URL.
  • Locate the article. See Example
  • Click Citation/Abstract.
  • Copy the Document URL.

Films in the Classroom

In Class

  • Library videos may be shown in class.
  • Rental store videos (e.g., Netflix) may be shown as long as they are legally made and acquired copies.
  • Public performance rights are not required.

Outside of Class

  • Public performance rights are not necessary if the event is not advertised and is open only to students enrolled in the course. Flyers should not be posted and the film screening should not be listed in the Events Calendar.
  • Public performance rights are needed for any advertised screenings open to the general public.
  • Most films purchased for the Media Library do not come with public performance rights. The cost to purchase films with public performance rights is often significantly higher.

Streaming Video

  • It is almost never permissible to stream an entire film without the appropriate license or permissions.
  • The Teach Act permits transmission of entire “non-dramatic musical and literary works” and “reasonable and limited portions” of other audio-visual works.
  • Video excerpts should be streamed and not be made available for download.
  • The Netflix End User License Agreement is a limited license for personal and non-commercial use. Faculty may wish to seek permission from Netflix before streaming films from their personal accounts.

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