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Copyright: Using Copyrighted Material in DavidsonX Courses

Information about copyright and how it affects your teaching, research, and learning at Davidson


edX logo

Images & edX

Whenever possible, use public domain or Creative Commons licensed images in DavidsonX courses. 

Useful places to search for these images include:

Music & video in edX

Whenever possible, use public domain or Creative Commons licensed music and video in DavidsonX courses.

Useful places to search for these materials include:


Courses taught in edX, Davidson's massively open online course (MOOC) platform, require copyright considerations not always necessary for regular Davidson classes. 

Because MOOCs are open to the public, educational exemptions to copyright law do not apply to DavidsonX courses.  Copyrighted materials (including those licensed in library databases) cannot be used without permission. Copyright and license infrigements can result in a course "take down" from the edX site. 

To avoid copyright infringement and the removal of your course from edX, we recommend using only publicly available, public domain, and open access materials in DavidsonX courses. 

More information is included in this guide:

Steps for adding materials to edX

  1. Search for public domain, open access, and Creative Commons licensed materials. Submit them to the Library for review.

  2. If you can't find public domain and open access materials that meet your need, meet with a librarian to discuss alternative options.

Guidelines for using copyrighted material in edX

  • Copyrighted materials, including those in library databases, may not be used in an DavidsonX course without permission of the copyright owner.  The Library will help you to secure the appropriate permissions.

  • Copyright permissions can often be lengthy and sometimes difficult to obtain. When possible, use alternatives, including public domain, open access, and Creative Commons licensed materials.  Resources for finding these materials are located in this guide; librarians are also happy to help you find them.

  • Davidson's Annual Academic License from the Copyright Clearance Center does not apply to materials used in DavidsonX courses. You will need to obtain separate permission to use materials in a MOOC. Please contact the Library to request permission.

  • Try to create as much of your own content as possible. Remember that you may need permission from the publisher to use even your own published work in your DavidsonX course. Check your author agreement to see if the publisher owns the copyright to your work.  Librarians are happy to help you determine a work's copyright status.

  • Whenever possible, provide a citation (with a link, if possible) to an item.

  • You may want to recommend some materials for purchase in your course. Publishers are more likely to give permission for you to use a portion of these materials in your lecture if you have linked to a place to purchase them.  

Text & edX

Whenever possible, use public domain, open access, or Creative Commons licensed books and journal articles in DavidsonX courses.  (For more information, see Guidelines for Using Copyrighted Material in edX.)

Useful places to search for these materials include:

Fair use & edX

Fair use should be the option of last resort when adding copyrighted materials to DavidsonX courses.

Whenever possible, obtain permission to use these materials or find alternatives that don't require permission. Librarians can help you with this process.

If that is not possible, do a fair use analysis. This analysis will need to be much more conservative than it would for a regular Davidson course.

Some fair use considerations:

  • Use only the exact amount of material necessary to illustrate your point. Any more than that is not fair use. 

  • The material must be tied directly to the pedagogical purpose and must be commented upon in the course.  Items used for aesthetic purposes are not candidates for fair use. 

Need help?

Need help locating content, finding alternatives, or securing permissions?

We're happy to help! 

Please contact:

Sara Swanson,
Assistant Director for Information Literacy, x2157

James Sponsel,
Information Literacy Librarian, x3076


This site is intended for informational purposes only.  Library staff members cannot give legal advice.  For legal advice, you should contact an intellectual property attorney.

Questions? Need help? Ask a Librarian
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