Claiming Fair Use when no one on campus owns or subscribes to the source document

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  • I am working with a group of instructors who teaching completely online. Recently an instructor told me she had a copy of an article, but did not remember where she aquired it. She wants to use it in class. We (the library) do not subscribe to the journal. I have had a similar question concerning a selection from a book. I will do a full Fair Use inquiry. If there's no other reason not to use the publication, does it matter that neither the campus library, nor the professor, owns the publication?

  • No it does not matter but it makes the fair use argument stronger.

    I do wonder how you know you don't subscribe to the journal if you don't know where the article came from.  Curious minds...

    Good luck!




  • A professor taught at another university last year, and did research during the summer at another university. He's not sure which university the article was acquired from. Thank you for your insight.

  • I'm a bit new to Copyright (and come from a Canadian perspective), but I would say it's down to risk management here.

    I would be hesitant only because you don't know the source and what licensing might be at play.

    If you wanted to cover your basis, could your prof put in an ILL request on behalf of their students and post it your course management system? Like walking up to the stop light instead of J walking. Both get you accross the street, but one could lead to a "why didn't ya just.." conversation.

    I would also say it is a good opportunity to have the Citing Citing Citing! conversation with the prof. It could have erased some confusion here.

    Not a lawyer, just my nickle (... blame inflaition)

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