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A Guide to... Copyright, Fair Use, and Licensing: FAQ for Faculty

FAQ for print & electronic resources

Can I post a PDF of an article on Canvas or send via email?

No.  Attaching a PDF (or equivalent) of an article to an email or course management system violates copyright Fair
Use and/or violates the terms of the Holy Cross license agreement.  If the library has access to the resource electronically (or it is an open access resource), provide a link on your Canvas page.  This will allow students to access the resource through their own library account, which does not infringe upon copyright, fair use, or licensing agreements.  If the library does not have access to the resource please contact your department librarian to discuss adding the source to the library’s collection.

Can the library scan a copy of a print book or print article and post to my Canvas course?

Maybe.  Under Fair Use, the library has some abilities to scan small portions of books or journals that it owns in print.  Please contact the Electronic Reserves department at for more information.

How can I share an article, video, or other electronic resource from the library with my colleagues?

To share articles or other electronic resources with your Holy Cross colleagues (faculty & staff), simply email the link.  Do not share a PDF copy.  Attaching a PDF (or equivalent) of an article to an email violates copyright Fair Use and/or violates the terms of the Holy Cross license agreement.  You cannot share electronic resources from the library with individuals outside of Holy Cross, as this violates the terms of the Holy Cross license agreement. Instead, you can provide colleagues outside Holy Cross with a citation for the resource that they can use to access the work through their own institution. 


FAQ for using films in a course

Can I bring my own copy of a film into class?

Yes, if it is limited to your classroom use, and it is "lawfully" made. 110(1) of the Copyright Act.

Can I show a Netflix/Amazon Prime/Max film in class?

Maybe; it's complicated. See Shontavia Johnson's post from The Faculty Lounge for more detail. We highly encourage you to call us in the library or ITS for verbal advice on how to handle a synchronous showing of a film in class. There may be technical restrictions in tech-equipped classrooms.

Can I give my personal copy of a DVD to digitize and place on Canvas (in its entirety)?

No. We recommend that the library buy a copy of the DVD to put on physical reserve. Or, we can try to secure the film with a license suitable for online access from a class of students (from Kanopy or other platform).

Can I ask the library to catalog and house my personal copy of a film I recorded from TV?


Can I require my students to use their own streaming accounts to access a particular film?

Yes. Keep in mind, however, that streaming services sometimes drops access to titles, so always check to make sure it is still available for the dates you're looking for. is a helpful source for seeing all the platforms available for a particular title. 

We recommend the following options for making films available to students:

1. Talk to your subject librarian to see if the publisher or a database vendor offers a streaming license. We will investigate all options to see how best to access the film. We consider many different sources, including Kanopy, Docuseek, Swank, special performance licensing DVDs when available, etc. 
2. Consider donating your own DVD to the library, making it available to the entire campus as well as potentially making it available to use the digitized version from Lumiére, a consortial platform that Holy Cross subscribes to. 
3. Compile selected excerpts for use during class &/or posting to Panopto/Canvas.