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Copyright Reference Guide For Educators

Alternatives to Fair Use: Library Online Content

The CSM Library has licensed a great deal of online content - e-books, articles, films and video, images - for use by CSM faculty, students, and staff. A list of those sources, with links, can be found here.

Materials contained in the sources on that list coded:

  • SMCCD only logo = Databases with content only for use by students, faculty, and staff of any of the SMCCD colleges
  • CSM only logo = Databases with content only for use by CSM students, faculty, and staff; use OneLogin to access

can be used in classrooms on the CSM campus, can be linked from Canvas online courses, or (under certain conditions) shared in or linked from Zoom classes.

Best Practice for Sharing CSM Digital Content

The good news about using material that has been licensed to the CSM community is that it doesn't need to be assessed according to the Four Fair Use Factors because it can be used multiple times for ANY CLASS in the CSM community. The bad news about using material that has been licensed to the CSM community is that it can be used ONLY by the CSM community.

Best practice is to send (or post, or share) a permalink to the item, and not a downloaded version of that item. Why?  With a permalink, anyone wishing to view that content has to log on with CSM's OneLogin authentication. The database itself takes responsibility for policing the terms of its license; you don't have to check to make sure that someone has legitimate access.

If the database allows you to email content to someone in the CSM community directly from within that interface, that's ideal (the permalink will be included).

Here's what a direct permalink looks like:

finding a permalink


copy permalink


If it's not feasible to share a permalink, then share links to material from within that specific class space in Canvas (i.e., only registered students would have access to it.)

Likewise, classes or tutoring sessions or reference appointments that use Zoom can share material or links within that platform, if a unique password was used for that specific Zoom session.