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Copyright & Fair Use


FAQs from the United States Copyright Office

An extensive FAQ list is available from the US Copyright Office

What is Copyright?  

Please review our Copyright page or the Copyright Basics handout from the United States Copyright Office for a definition of copyright:  

What is Fair Use? 

Please review our Fair Use page or the Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use section from the United States Copyright Office for a definition of Fair Use, the four factors of Fair Use, and tests to determine circumstances that do and don't full within Fair Use. 

Can I make copies of pages from a book or journal and distribute them to a group I am teaching or presenting to?

When in doubt, it is best practice to obtain permission of the copyright holder (not necessarily the author(s)) to reproduce the work for your group or to choose resources that are open access.  If possible, it is best to provide links to the article or book that allow individuals affiliated with your institution to access the item directly, using permalinks to provide consistent access:

One of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is the right to reproduce or authorize reproduction of their copyrighted work in copies (paper or electronic) or phonorecords (audio recording or public performance).

Under Fair Use, there are some allowances for making reproductions for classroom use, but much depends on the specific situation and group you are presenting to, the percentage of the original work you are reproducing, and the other considerations of fair use and the guidelines for educators (see links below). 

For more information, please see:

  • The Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians guide from the United States Copyright Office:
  • The Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-For-Profit Educational Institutions with respect to books and periodicals from House Report no. 94–1476:
Can I use this (image/video/etc.) in a presentation?

Please see our page about using images, videos, and media for information about finding reusable images and videos for presentations. If an image or video has not been marked for reuse under Creative Commons, you might need to request permission from the copyright holder to use the media in a presentation. Fair Use may apply depending on where and who you are presenting to.

Can I share documents I requested through Interlibrary Loan (ILL)? 

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Copyright statement: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.


The intent of this guide is to provide employees of Cincinnati Children's with information pertaining to copyright law and fair use.  In no way does this guide constitute, or take the place of, legal counsel.  This guide was compiled for educational purposes only.  Any content presented on other's sites are for user's convenience only and Pratt Library and/or Cincinnati Children's does not take responsibility for anything presented on these third party sites.