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Canvas and Coursepacks

You may make readings available electronically to your students by posting them in Canvas. The libraries can help with digitizing the readings and/or getting copyright permission to post the readings. Coursepacks are also an option.  

Information and FAQs
1. What are my options for supplying students with supplemental course readings?
2. What is considered Fair Use when posting course readings?
3. Can I post readings I have obtained through interlibrary loan (ILL) to Canvas?
4. What is required when posting class readings?
5. Can I reuse my readings semester after semester?
6. Is scanning or digitizing considered making a copy?
7. What about using electronic reserves for images, music, audio or video recordings?
8. What about using images, music, audio or video recordings in Canvas?

1. What are my options for supplying students with supplemental course materials and readings?




Canvas is a self-contained site, so it is easier and more readily accessible to students. Always link to a copyrighted item rather than posting it, if possible.

You may post copyrighted readings whenever needed as long as the reading complies with the TEACH Act or Fair Use. Fair Use applies to the use of copyrighted textual materials in the LMS; the TEACH Act or Fair Use applies to copyrighted material that is displayed or performed.

The library will pay for permissions and royalty payments up to $100 per course.



You will have to run your own fair use or TEACH Act analysis. Ask the library for help if needed.

If copyright permissions exceed $100, you will have to cover them through other means, such as department funds, or consider alternative course readings.



The UMKC Bookstore can create coursepacks for your class readings. The Bookstore will arrange for permissions and recover these costs when students purchase the coursepacks. The Bookstore an estimate coursepack costs in advance. You can also check the Copyright Clearance Center website for permission fees yourself.




Preparing coursepacks requires the longest lead time. Coursepacks cannot be put on library reserve without additional permissions, which can be purchased through the Copyright Clearance Center website and paid for from departmental or other funds.

2. What is considered Fair Use when posting course materials?
This is a summary. The UM Collected Rules and Regulations follow the "Classroom Guidelines"  for posting course materials.

  • a single chapter from a book
  • a single article from a periodical or newspaper
  • a single short story or short essay (less than 2,500 words)
  • one short poem (less than 250 words)
  • one chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book, periodical, or newspaper issue
  • all lecture notes, answer keys, tests, etc. that are owned by faculty
  • The Music Library Association has a helpful statement on the "Digital Transmission of Audio Reserves."

3. Can I post readings I have obtained through interlibrary loan (ILL) to Canvas?

While UMKC materials are automatically licensed for course use, this is not true of most items obtained through interlibrary loan (ILL). If you obtained a reading through interlibrary loan from a source other than UMKC’s collection, and you intend to post it in the LMS, you are likely to need a license. The library can help cover up to $100 in licensing fees per course. Questions? Contact the UMKC Copyright Team at

4. What is required when posting class readings?

  • Be sure posted copies carry a complete citation and a copyright notice: "This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code)"
  • Only copy the portion of the work that is necessary and no more for the intended use.
  • Only students enrolled in a course should have access to the Canvas site 

5. Can I reuse my readings semester after semester without permission?

There is no definitive answer. Repeated use of material might violate the spirit of fair use if the amount and market effect are sizeable.  When posting material in Canvas, weigh all the fair use factors. Bear in mind that obtaining permissions through the Copyright Clearance Center is often an easy process. To mitigate risk to the University, it is library policy to seek permission for material reused on reserve that the library does not own.

In Cambridge Univ. Press v. Becker, a federal district court sitting in Georgia rejected the Classroom Guidelines, which act as the source of the restriction on the reuse of copyrighted materials for e-reserves.  863 F.Supp.2d (N.D.Ga. 2012).  The case is most influential in the 11th Circuit (Alabama, Florida & Georgia), however it will also likely have highly persuasive value in other jurisdictions. 

A good, risk-free way to proceed is to use link to University licensed resources.

6. Is scanning or digitizing my readings considered making a copy?

Yes. Library staff can scan documents through our document delivery service. If the request for a scanned item exceeds Fair Use, Library staff can secure permission up to the $100 limit per course. Law faculty: see Law Library reserve procedures.

7. What about using music, audio or video?

 Link to University licensed databases or resources such as:

Or link to freely available videos online. Evaluate whether they are likely posted legally before linking.

The Music Library Association's Copyright For Music Librarians site provides additional information on music copyright.

8. What about using images, music, audio or video recordings in Canvas?

The use of these media in Canvas involve the issues of performance and display in digital transmissions. Refer to either the TEACH Act page or the Fair Use page for guidance.  Some Fair Use answers appear above. Fair Use in most cases would not grant more freedoms than the Teach Act. (Kevin Smith)

The best way to transmit media in Canvas and be in compliance with the TEACH Act is to stream. UMKC Information Services uses a Flash Interactive Media Server. See UMKC Instructional Technology website. For information on whether your film can be streamed in Canvas and alternatives if it cannot, see Can I stream this movie in my online course?

Other suggestions for protecting copyrighted images or photos:

  • use low resolution images and thumbnails
  • non-printable PDF
  • digital watermarks
  • disable the right click copy function
  • overlay the image with a transparent GIF
  • use the image as a background in a table
  • use digital rights management
  • For details see "Tips and Techniques to Protect Images on the Internet."

When considering using media in online teaching, technological protection measures or digital rights management may come into play. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act carries strict prohibitions against overriding TPMs and DRM. See the DMCA page for a brief explanation.

Further Resources:
University Libraries' Course Reserve Request for placing print materials on reserve
UMKC Law Library Reserves Procedures
University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations, Chapt 100.010
"Use of Copyrighted Materials in Teaching and Research"
"Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians" summarizes the House Judiciary Committee Report of 1976 (No. 94-1476), the Senate Judiciary Committee report of 1975, and congressional debates.


Linking to Library Resources

To share library articles, eBooks, and videos without copyright concerns or links breaking, see Linking to Library Resources.

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