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Copyright Information & Resources

People are asking

#1. Question: How much of a book can be copied and considered to be a reasonable limit?  How much can I copy of a book and make it available in a password controlled environment?  The book in question may not be a textbook assigned by the instructor for a class. (see question below).

Answer: In the Georgia State case Judge Evans decided that a reasonable limit is ten percent of a book with fewer than ten chapters, or of a book that is not divided into chapters, or no more than one chapter or its equivalent in a book of more than ten chapters. 

#2. Question: Can I copy/digitize the textbook I have assigned and put it on Blackboard?



Answer: Parts of it can probably be used in online and distance education. My understanding is that you can put content from a textbook on Blackboard but it should be of the same type and quantity of material you would normally use to demonstrate in a face-to-face class or setting.  Read below for an explanation of  “mediated instructional activity”.  Scanning and uploading chapters is not allowed.  Some publishers include accompanying material with textbooks that is clearly identified by the publisher for distribution on Content Management Systems such as Blackboard.    


Source: From the American Library Association: Distance Education and the TEACH ACT:


4. Mediated instructional activities. In perhaps the most convoluted language of the bill, the statute directs that performances and displays, involving a "digital transmission," must be in the context of "mediated instructional activities." This language means that the uses of materials in the program must be "an integral part of the class experience, controlled by or under the actual supervision of the instructor and analogous to the type of performance or display that would take place in a live classroom setting." In the same provision, the statute specifies that "mediated instructional activities" do not encompass uses of textbooks and other materials "which are typically purchased or acquired by the students." The point of this language is to prevent an instructor from including, in a digital transmission, copies of materials that are specifically marketed for and meant to be used by students outside of the classroom in the traditional teaching model. For example, the law is attempting to prevent an instructor from scanning and uploading chapters from a textbook in lieu of having the students purchase that material for their own use. The provision is clearly intended to protect the market for materials designed to serve the educational marketplace. Not entirely clear is the treatment of other materials that might ordinarily constitute handouts in class or reserves in the library. However, the general provision allowing displays of materials in a quantity similar to that which would be displayed in the live classroom setting ("mediated instructional activity") would suggest that occasional, brief handouts-perhaps including entire short works-may be permitted in distance education, while reserves and other outside reading may not be proper materials to scan and display under the auspices of the new law.