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Fair Use and Copyright

Scholarly Communications Committee

The Scholarly Communications Committee (SCC) was an interdepartmental committee of UMass Dartmouth librarians, library staff, instructional development specialists, and faculty. It was formed to address the growing need for open and shared access to teaching, research and scholarly content. In response, SCC developed guidelines and resources for best practices associated with Fair Use, Open educational Resources (OER), Open Access (OA) Scholarship and Open Data. The SCC sponsors programs, guest speakers, participates in workshops and conference, and offers information and assistance related to Open Access.

Although the Scholarly Communications Committee paused their efforts around 2019, the conversation about their important work has renewed, and we look forward to reconvening the committee in 2022 - 2023.


Copyright refers to the law surrounding intellectual property and original works that protect the author or creator. Fair Use is an exception to copyright allows for the use of copyrighted material under certain circumstances. Copyright and Fair Use are a big part of our academic lives and we encounter it everyday in situations such as: requesting an article through Interlibrary Loan, to putting material on reserve at the library for your class, and to deciding what's appropriate to put on MyCourses, just to name a few ways. Further, copyright and Fair Use extends to your considerations as an author of scholarly works. You may wonder what rights you have retained to an article you have published or whether you can distribute your own work to others.

The Scholarly Communications Committee has created this guide to help with the education of these issues as well as to make it as easy as possible to do the right thing.