Brown University Copyright and Fair Use

Brown University

Teaching and Fair Use
As a teacher, you make frequent use of copyrighted materials: in course handouts and packets, multimedia, course reserves, and possibly in materials you make available or publish digitally. Here you can find practical guidance on how to handle these situations.

Can I use it?
In deciding whether you can reproduce a given work for use in teaching, you should first consider the principles of fair use. You can use a checklist to help decide whether fair use applies in your case. If it does not, then you'll need to get permission to use it.  Getting permission or a license to use the work may involve a fee.

Course packs
In order to include copyrighted materials in a course pack, you need to get permission to use the materials. Brown Graphic Services can help you with all aspects of course pack development and provide advice on lead times needed to get permission, royalty fees, course pack pricing and production. Course pack orders and inquiries can be e-mailed to or contact:  Tiziana Milano, Tel. 863-3653, Fax. 863-3382, Brown Graphic Services, Box 1851.

Payment of royalty and permission fees
In some cases, copyright holders will charge a fee for use of their copyrighted materials. For materials being included in printed course packs, that fee can be incorporated into the cost of the course pack. For printed and digital materials being included in course reserves, the faculty member using the materials is responsible for paying any royalty fees.

Course reserves
All course reserve requests are now handled through OCRA (Online Course Reserve Access).  Fair Use Guidelines for using OCRA may be found here

Using or publishing student work
As authors, students hold copyright to their own work, even if created for a course. If you plan to publish student work, or to make student papers available as models for future classes, you should respect this right and get written permission from your students to use or publish their work.

Where to go for more help
For general queries about copyright and fair use at Brown, send email to If you have questions on specific topics, one of the names on our contact page may be able to help.