Center for Teaching Excellence
Georgia Southern University

Copyright Law and Guidelines

Disclaimer: While legislation permits the use of copyright material in education, the Center for Online Learning cannot give legal advice pertaining to copyright law and the use of copyright material in online courses.

The safest course of action is to get permission from the copyright owner before using their material. When it is impracticable to obtain permission, consider avoiding the use of copyrighted material unless you are confident that the doctrine of Fair Use as well as the TEACH Act apply.

Fair Use

Fair use is a principle of copyright based on the belief that the public is entitled to use portions of copyrighted materials to an extent for purposes of commentary and criticism.

Factors that determine Fair Use

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

Important! Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

» USG Guide to Fair Use


The TEACH act facilitates the use of online digital media by recognizing that distance learning requires expanded criteria for use of copyright resources. exempts from liability the transmission, including over a digital network, of a performance or display of a copyrighted work by an accredited non-profit educational institution to students officially enrolled in a course.

» USG Guide to the TEACH Act



Last updated: 7/9/2018

Center for Teaching Excellence • Statesboro, Armstrong, and Liberty • (912) 478-0049 • (912) 344-3607