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Copyright basics: Photocopying & scanning

Know your copy rights: Tips for instructors

Can I link to or scan/upload articles and book chapters in Canvas?

Can I link to or scan/upload articles and book chapters in Canvas?

The answer is "YES" if:
  • Yes, if... The article or book is in the Library's digital collection, i.e. our library databases. The Library's licensing agreements make it perfectly legal for each student to individually access, save, or print copies. All you have to do is provide the link to that article or book in Canvas. Read more about linking to specific digital library resources on the Articles page in this guide or ask a librarian for help!
  • Yes, if... You are linking to something you have found online. You can legally link to articles and resources that you find on the free web, i.e. Google, but beware that these copies are sometimes legal and sometimes not. The link may not be stable and could disappear at critical times during a term. The ideal way to provide students with access to a specific source is through the Library's databases.
  • Yes, if... You are uploading an article, book, or book chapter that is openly licensed. Read more about OER (Open Educational Resources) using the link below and contact the OER Librarian, Jennifer Snoek-Brown at, for help.
  • Yes, if... You have requested permission from the publisher of an article or book to upload that specific source to Canvas. Confused about how to request permission? Read more requesting permission from a copyright holder in the following tab in this guide and contact TCC's Copyright Officer, Candice Watkins at for guidance!
The answer is "NO" if:
  • No, if... You scan and upload to Canvas an entire article or book chapter that is covered by traditional copyright and for which you have not been granted permission by the publisher to use in that fashion. This rule is a bit different than the face-to-face teaching rules. Instead, online teaching is dictated by the TEACH ACT. Read more about what the TEACH ACT allows and doesn't allow under the tab of Copyright basics in this guide.

Student copying

Student copying

A single copy (on a photocopier) may be made of any of the following by a student for his or her research:

  • A chapter from a book;
  • An article from a periodical (magazine, journal, newspaper);
  • A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper

However, when using the Library's databases, a student legally has permission to individually access, save, or print copies.

Photocopying for face-to-face teaching

Guidelines for classroom copying with respect to books and periodicals

The following excepts are reprinted from the Circular 21: Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians, Section C,2B, ii, Page 7 (linked below).

Single copying for teachers

A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for his or her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  • A chapter from a book;
  • An article from a periodical or newspaper;
  • A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper;
Multiple copies for classroom use

Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion; provided that:

  • The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined in the box below; and,
  • Meets the cumulative effect test as defined in the box below and,
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright
  • Copy protected workbooks, exercises, test materials and other consumable goods, cannot ever be copied.

If creating an anthology or a coursepack, please contact the TCC Bookstore staff for their procedures and guidelines. defined below

The following excerpts are from:  United States. Copyright Office.  Circular 21:  Reproduction of Copyrighted Work by Educators and Librarians. Revised 11/2009 (linked below)


i Poetry: (a) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or, (b) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.

ii Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.

[Each of the numerical limits stated in “i” and “ii” above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph.]

iii Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.

iv “Special” works: Certain works in poetry, prose or in “poetic prose” which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety.

Paragraph “ii” above notwithstanding such “special works” may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than ten percent of the words found in the text thereof, may be reproduced.


i The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and

ii The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission

Cumulative effect

i The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.

ii Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.

iii There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term.

[The limitations stated in “ii” and “iii” above shall not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.]

Notwithstanding any of the above, the following shall be prohibited:

A. Copying shall not be used to create or to replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works.  Such replacement or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts therefrom are accumulated or reproduced and used separately.

B. There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be “consumable” in the course of study or of teaching. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, test booklets and answer sheets, and similar consumable material.

C. Copying shall not:

     a. substitute for the purchase of books, publishers’ reprints or periodicals;

     b. be directed by higher authority;

     c. be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.

     d. No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying

CC BY SA license

Except where otherwise noted, the content in these guides by Tacoma Community College Library is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.
This openly licensed content allows others to cite, share, or modify this content, with credit to TCC Library. When reusing or adapting this content, include this statement in the new document: This content was originally created by Tacoma Community College Library and shared with a CC BY SA 4.0 license.

Tacoma Community College Library - Building 7, 6501 South 19th Street, Tacoma, WA 98466 - P. 253.566.5087

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