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A Guide to... Copyright, Fair Use, and Licensing: Home

What is on this Guide?

This guide outlines Copyright Policy, Fair Use Guidelines, Holy Cross College policy, and College licensing information for the purposes of digitizing content for classroom use. Here you will find information on how to properly use copyrighted material in your classwork or professional publications, post class readings, send articles to friends and colleagues, make videos, movies, and other streaming media available on various platforms, and more all in compliance with copyright law and the college's licensing agreements.  

ITS and the Libraries aim to reduce barriers to the use of these materials while maintaining and respecting Copyright Law. We encourage students, faculty and staff to reach out to us for help in planning the use of digitized materials. 

Definitions of Copyright, Fair Use, and Licensing

Quick Definitions of Copyright, Fair Use and Licensing


Copyright symbol of a C centered in a circle Copyright: The Laws and guidelines that govern how you can use another person's work for your own purposes. Copyright protects creators from having their work reproduced without proper credit and compensation and also from their work being used in ways they do not approve of. 


the scales of justice balanced Fair Use: The limits on how much of a single work or body of works by one author you can use in any given project, how often you can reproduce someone's work, and for what purposes you can use a work. For example, educational institutions can use more of a single work or a body of works than corporate or for profit groups because it is for educational purposes. 


graphic of a license with a circular medal with ribbons and a checkmark in the lower right corner License: A license is a granted permission by the copyright holder for a user or group of users to use their material in whole or in part for specific agreed upon uses. At Holy Cross, the library purchases licenses for a variety of works so that Faculty and students may legally use copyrighted material. 

Contact for Resources

Copyright Contacts


Dr. Mark Shelton

Director of Libraries | x3372

Eileen Cravedi

 Head of Access & Discovery Services | x2672

Mary Moran

 Senior Content &

Information Strategist x2478

Copyright Contacts for Students

Abigail Roselieb

Instruction Librarian

Elizabeth Pawlowski

Assessment Teaching & Learning Librarian


Glossary of Terms


Brevity: The amount or percentage of a work that is copied or used by someone. Used to test whether or not something is considered Fair Use.

Copyright: The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

Cumulative Effect: The set of rules for how many copies of a single work, the works of a single author, or how many sections of a single work can be made per class per term. Holy Cross's definition of Cumulative Effect can be seen on the Fair Use page. 

Fair Use:  (in US copyright law) The doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.

License: An agreement by which a party grants another party one or more rights (but fewer than all rights), usually limited to a particular territory and/or time period. A license may be granted as an exclusive license or a nonexclusive license.

Spontaneity: The number of times a work is used or copied at one time. Used to test whether or not something is considered Fair Use.

Streaming Service: A video streaming service is an on-demand online entertainment source for TV shows, movies and other streaming media. Video streaming services typically focus on studio-produced content, such as movies and TV. Services that focus on content created by end users, such as YouTube and Twitch, are generally classified as social media or streaming platforms. Source.

For more terms and definitions, see the U.S. Copyright Office Glossary linked below.