Uses that Do Not Require Exceptions

Linking to Materials in the Library Catalog

Search the Duke University Library catalog for books, videos, and journals for which the library has already purchased online access.  These materials can be accessed with Duke University credentials.  A number of Research Guides can help with locating these resources and locating library experts to assist in their navigation. 

Other Acceptable Uses of Materials

Exceptions Granted by the Copyright Act

Copyrighted materials may be used without permission if certain exceptions apply. The Copyright Act contains two particularly helpful educational exceptions: one for face to face teaching (Section 110(1)), as well as an exception aimed at the use of certain materials in course management systems (Section 110(2), aka the TEACH Act).  If neither of those narrow exceptions applies, many materials can still be used pursuant to Fair Use (Section 107).


Section 110(1)

  • Allows performance or display of protected, legally obtained, material in a face-to-face teaching setting (borrowed is acceptable, but no ‘bootleg’ copy is eligible).
  • Must be in a classroom and at a non-profit educational institution.
  • Does NOT allow copying. This is an exception to the exclusive rights of performance and display, but not the right of reproduction.
  • See Fair Use for allowable copying.

Section 110(2), aka the TEACH Act


Allows digital copies in course management systems under a specific set of conditions:

  • Text and images may be transmitted (displayed) in amounts comparable to in-class teaching.
  • Music and video may be used in portions; entire songs may be used if “non-dramatic.”
  • Access must be restricted to students registered in the course, and notice that the material is protected must be given.
  • Technological measures to prevent the material from being retained after the course is over or copied to others are required. Streaming of music and video is a good way to meet this requirement.
  • The institution should have policies and educational programs about copyright in place to take advantage of this exception. See Duke’s copyright policy in the Faculty Handbook.

For more information about the TEACH Act, see the TEACH Act Toolkit from Louisiana State University


Fair Use (Section 107)

Fair Use may be available when using materials that are still in copyright. It is a flexible exception that allows socially valuable uses of copyrighted material.

Four factors are balanced to determine fair use:

1. The purpose of the use should be for non-profit education. If that use adds to the original in some creative way (like commenting on a poem or making a parody), the fair use argument is stronger.

2. Nature of the material should be assessed. Factual material is more likely to be allowed under fair use; creative work like music and art gets stronger protection, as does unpublished work.

3. The amount of the original work is only that which is necessary to accomplish the educational purpose.

4. Uses that substitute for purchasing available copies should be avoided; damaging the market for the original counts heavily against fair use.

Fair use applies in many situations, but depends upon a balancing of the factors. Members of the Duke community should seek out a subject librarian with copyright training.  Members of the Duke University Medical Center will find targeted information on copyright via the Medical Center Library and Archives.  Any member of the Duke community may directly schedule a consultation with copyright staff on this topic or send an email directly to 

Fair Use Resources

For more information about fair use in teaching, see this illustrative use case and discussion of the four fair use factors from the University of Texas.