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Copyright: Other Copyright Exemptions & Limitations

Copyright guidelines for faculty, staff, and students at CSS.

Copyright Exemptions

The US Copyright Law includes many exceptions, exemptions, and limitations in the law (see Sections 107-122 of the US Copyright Law to learn more). They were added to the law to ensure progress continues. This is necessary because new works build upon, are influenced by, and make reference to works that came before them. If these exceptions, exclusions, and limitations did not exist, the creators and authors could monopolize their rights for all time and progress as we know it would cease to exist.  Therefore, the copyright law allows the public to use works in certain ways and under certain conditions without the need for asking permission because they are seen to serve the fundamental public interest and good.

There are numerous exceptions, exemptions, and limitations in the US Copyright Law. This section will look at those that are most often used in teaching and education. 


Classroom Exemption


Section 110(1) of the US Copyright law is the Classroom Use Exemption in the copyright law. This exemption was added to the copyright law because of the high-value of educational uses. This exemption only allows for performing or displaying any copyrighted works in the face-to-face classroom. This includes videos, images, artwork, skits, public readings of poems, etc.  It does not include photocopies handed out to students in the class.


The exemption can only be used under certain conditions or situations, including:

  • The place where the class is being taught must be a non-profit educational institution or similar place devoted to instruction.
  • The class must be a face-to-face classroom engaged in teaching activities.
  • The work must be a legal copy. The legal copy can be from the Library, the department, or the an instructor's personal copy, but it must be a legal copy. If there is any question about whether or not the item is a legal copy, do NOT use. 
  • An instructor or an enrolled student in the class must display or perform the work. 

If all conditions are met, instructors and students are free to perform or display any copyrighted works without asking permission, paying copyright fees, or relying on fair use. 

The Classroom Use Exemption is not flexible like Fair Use. It does not apply to conditions outside of the above conditions including for-profit institutions, online classrooms like Blackboard, or web-conferencing learning environments like Zoom, Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts, or Skype. 

In the event your use of a work does not meet the above conditions, you may still be able to use another exemption, such as fair use, or you may need to ask for permission



The US Copyright Law was updated in an attempt to better meet the needs of distance and online learning.  The TEACH Act, Section 110(2), provides protection for those teaching if certain conditions are met.  


Currently, CSS does not have all the conditions met to allow for the institution or the faculty to fall under the protection of the TEACH Act.  However, faculty can still use Fair Use when considering materials for their online courses.

Library Exemption

Copyright Questions?

The College of St. Scholastica Library provides assistance and guidance with copyright questions for CSS faculty, staff, and students. Please email Julie Rustad with your questions or visit our website for more information.

Learn More about the TEACH Act

Copyright Exceptions Tools

Legal Advice Disclaimer

The information presented in this guide is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not offered as legal advice or counsel. Faculty, staff, students, and others associated with the college should consult an attorney for advice concerning their individual copyright situations and needs.