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Copyright Basics

Chester Fritz Library resources for copyright

Best Practices

When deciding to use materials in teaching and learning, it's best to determine if something is copyrighted or has limits on its use. 

Use the steps below to assist you in this process:

  • Consider using resources without the all rights reserved copyright license

  • Utilize proper linking or hosting

    • Cite or attribute materials - if using a Creative Commons licensed material, be sure to provide the correct attribution, and if using a traditionally copyrighted source, be sure to cite the original creators. 

    • Course reserves - Place traditionally copyrighted print resources on course reserve to ensure that students have access to materials while also complying with copyright law. 

    • Hosting on a controlled environment - Using UND technology, such as Blackboard, will ensure that there's control over who is seeing the material. TTaDA can assist with using UND technology such as Blackboard or Yuja.

  • If using traditionally copyrighted material, apply Fair Use 

    • All four factors of fair use need to be considered when looking to use a traditionally copyrighted resource. It may be helpful to seek permission from the creator to use the copyrighted work, and documenting all communication is necessary for considering using a traditionally copyrighted work and making a case for fair use.

    • Four Factor Checklist - This analysis document, created by Kenneth D. Crews and Dwayne K. Buttler, provides assistance in determining if the use of material meets the four factors of Fair Use. Please note that this checklist should not be used as a comprehensive guide. Fair use is organic in nature and not all cases are the same. More information about the checklist can be found here

  • Build a good faith case if using copyrighted works

    • Provide documentation to show effort was made to contact the license holder. Examples of providing documentation include emails with the license holder, syllabi & lesson plans, placing a copyright consideration notice 

Subject librarians can help find library licensed resources that already meet the criteria of proper use. Using library licensed material will help faculty save time and effort and as an added bonus library licensed content meets accessibility requirements. View the library's research guides for print and digital media for more information. 

Different Types of Materials

Finding Images 

There are a number of ways to access images for free from the internet. Please see the Open Access Sources to find images for free. Information is available here on how to find and use images from databases.

Citing & Ethical Use of Images 

General Advice: Keep it Legal 

Read the "fine print" to be sure how to use an image.

Good sources for "public use" images are Creative Commons and Compfight.  Read the fine print there too.

Remember that images from our subscription databases are meant for educational use on our campus:

  • Term papers

  • Classroom presentations

  • Avoid public use such as blogs, Facebook, etc. 

Find more information on the library's Open Educational Resources guide.

Cite Images in Papers

Database Image Citations - Ebsco image search APA Citation example:
  • Artist lastname, first initial. (Date of work). Title or caption. Publication Place: Retrieved date from database name

    • Hewitt, C. (1955). A Day With Salvador Dali. Spain: Retrieved April 5, 2017 from Ebsco image database

More advice from Ebsco on How to Cite Images in various citation format

Print Image Citation

  • Name of artist, Name of item in italics [Art Reproduction]. Name of Source in Italics Volume Number. (Publication Date):Issue Number.

    • Voulkos, Peter. Sculpture From A Stacked Clay Form [Art Reproduction]. Ceramics Monthly 35.(1987): 43.

If the item is not named you could describe it, such as Teapot [Art Reproduction]

Website Image Citations - should include as many of these elements as possible: 

  • Artist. Title of Work. Date of Work. Image Source. Database/Web Site. Date Accessed. URL (optional)

Cite Images in Presentations

Creative Commons Image Example


The image above is "later that day..." by  Paul Bica on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Many Creative Commons images can be used freely with attribution given to the author & source.  Here are more best practices

Creative Commons License 

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to use, build upon and share. 

Good sources for "public use" images are Creative Commons and Compfight.  Read the fine print there too.

Please click here for more information on CC licenses. 

It's best to use the permalink or permanent link to upload articles into Blackboard. When articles are accessed this way, it allows for each individual to log in with their UND credentials. This ensures that the people who are accessing the articles are the people who need to be accessing them. More information about Permalinks can be found here.

Example of where to find a permalink in a library record:


Note: There is a difference between copyright and the license agreements database vendors require our institution to enter. Sometimes these are more restrictive. Contact the library if you have questions.


The American Chemical Society's Scholarly Communication guide has information on best practices for using previous graphics and data.

Publicly showing a video or DVD requires Public Performance Rights. Showing a video to a classroom - whether the classroom is in-person, hybrid or online and whether the activity is synchronous or asynchronous - requires consideration by the faculty. 

Faculty that are interested in showing a video or DVD in their class should conduct a Fair Use Analysis

To know more about Educational Use/Copyright in DVDs, visit our page dedicated to copyright information and DVDs.

To know more about the titles in the library DVD and Streaming collections, click the link below to visit the research guide:

Libraries allow access to eBooks depending on what the publisher provides. If the publisher provides access to the book in a digital format, it will either be in a multi-user or single-user format. This means the number of people that can view the eBook at one time depends on which format has been purchased. Downloading and printing pages from eBooks depends on the publisher, and usually, that information will be stated somewhere. 

Course Reserves

We will obtain copyright clearance for materials that faculty put on reserve. Specific questions about legal interpretations should be directed to the UND’s Office of General Counsel at 701.777.6345. 

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) = teaching, learning, and research resources that are free for use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.