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Copyright: Copyright in the Classroom

Copyright and Teaching

United States Copyright law provides important exceptions for education to the exclusive rights of copyright owners. Vanderbilt University provides mechanisms for identifying and obtaining work to use in the classroom. An enormous amount of work is available through the library's catalog, providing the ability for instructors to provide links to the material. Vanderbilt also provides a Course Reading List Tool that integrates with BrightSpace to provide reading lists which includes both library-subscribed materials, as well as material requiring copyright clearance. For items not available through the VU Libraries or the Course Reading List Tool, the library can request copyright clearance directly from rights holders (NOTE: costs will be involved). Finally, Fair Use can be a viable option for classroom material.

We can assist you in preparing course readings by providing:

  • Copyright and Fair Use Guidance
  • Copyright Clearance Services for eReserves or ClassPaks
  • Instruction on using the Course Reading List Tool

Contact us at

Electronic Reserves (Brightspace)

Vanderbilt provides resources to ensure the materials posted on Brightspace are consistent with University Copyright Policy. The attached document below offers a workflow for this process. For further instructions on using the Course Reading List Tool to build a reading list for Brightspace, read this guide.

Invoices for licensing fees are paid by the University Librarian's Office. Licensing fees for electronic resources cover those resources only for the semester in which they were requested.

Copyright in Education Resources

Printed Classpacks

All of the material included in Printed Classpacks must be cleared by Copyright Clearance Service at Vanderbilt.  Permissions can take as long as 6-8 weeks to clear, so please allow adequate time. 

Please submit a ClassPack Request Form to  The form is found below this text box.

When you are notified that all contents have cleared copyright, please provide the materials to Printing Services.  Materials can be sent in PDF form as an e-mail attachment to or e-mail printing services and request materials be picked up by their courier.

Note that any licensing fees are incorporated into the cost of the classpack. Thus, students pay the fees when purchasing the classpack.

Media in the Classroom

Section 110[1] of the Copyright Act provides protections for the public display of copyrighted work in the face-to-face classroom, provided the class is part of a non-profit educational institution, the material directly relates to the course and is only available to those students registered in the course, measures are taken to prevent further dissemination of the work, and the material is legally obtained. The TEACH Act extends these protections to include distance learning.