Top 5 Copyright Tips for Building your CarmenCanvas Course

An open laptop with a copyright symbol on the screen.

Whether you’re building a CarmenCanvas course for the first time or revisiting an existing course, you likely have some questions about fair use and copyright when it comes to sharing course materials with students. We’ve gathered our top five copyright tips to provide some best practices for using and sharing materials.

1. Reevaluate course materials for online uses.

While U.S. Copyright Law does not include a blanket exception to cover all educational uses of materials, the law does provide some limited exceptions for certain uses of materials for teaching purposes. To understand which exception may apply to your situation and what materials and activities the exception may cover, you need to keep your teaching environment in mind. Copying or sharing materials may be permissible in certain contexts, such as displaying a work as part of an in-person class session, but displaying that same work online to anybody may require you to look to a different exception (such as the TEACH Act or fair use) or seek permission from the copyright owner. 

2. Include links.

Links can be a convenient way to connect students to resources and potentially avoid copyright issues. University Libraries provides online access to many resources, including articles, e-books, images and streaming media. Using permalinks and embed codes in your CarmenCanvas course will allow students to quickly access these materials. If you are looking to share publicly-available online content that is not licensed by University Libraries, consider providing a hyperlink to the source rather than copying and uploading the content to CarmenCanvas. Make sure your links are active, accessible and direct to an authorized source.   

3. Use a fair use checklist.

Fair use is a statutory exception that permits certain uses of copyrighted materials, under certain conditions, without permission from the copyright owner. In some situations, your use of material within your CarmenCanvas course could be a fair use. A fair use checklist can guide you through the all the factors to consider when conducting a fair use analysis and may highlight opportunities to strengthen a fair use argument.

4. Provide attribution.

Attribution is not a requirement of copyright law, but standards of academic integrity still apply. Additionally, if you are using a work under a license, attribution may be required as a term of the license. Creative Commons licenses list elements that must be included for a complete attribution statement; attribution is required by default for all Creative Commons licensed works.  

5. Be clear about copyright ownership.

Before seeking permission to use another’s copyrighted work, you must identify the current copyright owner. The author of a work is not always the copyright owner of the work and copyright may be transferred over time. The Ohio State University Intellectual Property Policy clarifies copyright ownership for works created by Ohio State faculty, staff and students.


You can find additional details and best practices on these copyright issues and more in the Copyright in CarmenCanvas Guide.

Copyright services supports Ohio State faculty, staff and students by providing education and guidance on the application of copyright law to facilitate teaching, research and scholarship. Visit for more information.