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Copyright Reminder

Many common campus activities involve copyright, and so it is critical that all Stanford faculty, students and staff have a working understanding of copyright law as it impacts their daily lives.  The Stanford University Libraries provide this Copyright Reminder to ensure that all members of the Stanford community have access to that critical information.  The Copyright Reminder highlights common campus copyright concerns, and outlines the fundamental elements of US copyright law that apply in those situations.

Online course readers

Loading reading material into CourseWork or any other course management system is equivalent to creating a printed course reader.  Where the printer generally takes responsibility for obtaining permissions for republication in a printed reader, the faculty member loading materials into the course management system is responsible for ensuring that permissions are obtained.  

One option in managing those permissions is SIPX, a service developed at Stanford specifically assist in distributing digital content in an academic setting, legally, easily and cost-effectively.  The SIPX service brings together information from a wide variety of publishers, open access and public domain material, subscribed holdings within the Stanford University library system, and material managed by outside copyright agents.  In addition to handling all copyright clearance, SIPX will manage the payment transactions across all paywalls.  SIPX is enabled within CourseWork, but is also as a standalone service for classes that use a different web platform.  For more information about SIPX, please visit their SIPX@Stanford website at

If you choose not to use SIPX,  the most cost-effective approach for providing access to publications within a course management system is generally to provide links to the material, rather than load a copy of the file into the course management tool.  Linking is not copying, and thus you won’t be required to pay licensing fees for copies.  Prior to digitizing copyrighted materials, faculty should review Stanford Libraries’ electronic holdings to determine if a pre-existing license for the content exists. Stanford Libraries has secured licenses to tens of thousands of online works, and many others are publicly available (e.g., through Creative Commons licenses).  Additionally, there are a number excellent digitization projects, such as Google Books, the Internet Archive, had HathiTrust that are making public domain content available online.

This presentation to Law School staff covers a variety of issues related to creating online course readers: