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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.

Request permision where needed

If an exception such as fair use or face-to-face is not clearly available, you must get permission to use a copyrighted work from the owner of the copyright holder.  A request to use copyrighted material usually can be sent to the permission department of the work's publisher.  Allow four to six weeks for a request to be processed.  Permission requests should contain:

  • Title, author and/or editor, and edition
  • Exact material to be used
  • Number of copies you plan to make
  • Intended use of the material (e.g., educational)
  • Form of distribution (e.g., hard copy to classroom, posted on Internet with password protection)
  • Whether material will be sold (e.g., as part of a course reader)


When copyright clearance is needed, you can also leverage SIPX.   SIPX was developed at Stanford as part of a research project called the Stanford Intellectual Property Exchange, specifically to solve the problem of how to distribute digital content in an academic setting, legally, easily and cost-effectively.  Now an independent company (which Stanford is supporting), the SIPX service brings together information about readings of all sorts 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. Faculty and staff can search the SIPX service to get cost and permissions information for any or all items on a class syllabus, and then make SIPX “links” available to students to access the material as they choose. SIPX is enabled as a tool within CourseWork while also delivering the same benefits as a standalone service (for those classes that use a different web platform). In addition to handling all copyright clearance, SIPX will manage the payment transactions across all paywalls. You can find more information about SIPX@Stanford here: