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Copyright Basics



Articles From Library Databases - Use in Canvas

While it's tempting to scan a journal article into Canvas for instructional use, it's most likely against copyright to do so! Chances are that article, or an even more appropriate and current one, is available through the library's databases. The best way to make journal readings available to your students is to copy and paste the article's "persistent URL" or “permalink” (when available) from the library database into your Canvas classroom. This link will take your students directly to the database record, including the full text.

View the video instructions about creating persistent URLs to individual articles. 

If there is no persistent URL or you need help in finding and copying the persistent URL, contact a librarian at We're here to help you navigate these databases!

If you do not use a web site or course management system, you may also distribute a one-time photocopy of the reading to the class. Read more about photocopying rules for face-to-face teaching by clicking on the drop-down page called Photocopying & scanning, under the Practical applications tab here in this guide.

Why This is Legal

The library's licensing agreements with database vendors allow faculty and currently registered students to access individual articles in the databases. Because only currently registered students and faculty can access TCC's Canvas classrooms, the copyright owners continue to be protected. 

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.

Working with a librarian

If you would like for your students to learn to use the Library's databases, we can help! Library faculty can arrange a library research session for your class, or create supportive material for your online class.

Contact a faculty librarian at OR use the link below to find a specific librarian

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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