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Moving beyond YouTube: Using 3rd-Party Video for Instruction: Fair Use

Rule of Thumb

When you want to use video content:

Public Domain

Fair Use - Use various checklists to determine

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  • the nature of the copyrighted work.
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Ask for Permission

Creative Commons

  • "Standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice."
  • "CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”   (Attribution:

Use Purchased Content! - Butler has paid licensing fees for this content, so you can link to your heart's content.

Want to Reuse this Content?

Creative Commons Attribution License

You are welcome to reuse the content of this Guide as long as you attribute Butler University Libraries.

Do's and Dont's

Rule of Thumb:  Link, don't download/upload or make a derivative copy


  • Always Link or embed code
  • Infringing Content issue - challenge is that some of the content has been uploaded without copyright permission


  • It's a licensing issue
  • In the classroom - stretching Fair Use (especially if shown in entirety)

What Can You Use?

Under the “fair use” provision of copyright law, a person may make limited use of another author’s work without asking permission. As I note elsewhere in this guide:

"There's no one right answer as to what constitutes a "fair use" of a particular copyrighted work. The answer varies from situation to situation."

Posting an item to Canvas does not exempt an instructor from copyright regulations. Therefore, instructors are encouraged to consult these guidelines. In order of preference, these include: 

  1. Link to your article from a library database (see below for more information on locating persistent links to articles).
  2. If a persistent link is unavailable, complete a Fair Use Evaluation, scan your article, and then upload it to Canvas.
  3. Repeated use over multiple semesters weighs against fair use. For repeated use, you will likely need to contact the publisher and request permission

Persistent Links:

If you copy a database link from your Internet browser into Canvas, that link will eventually stop working because it is a dynamic, non-static link. To eliminate this problem, most database companies now offer persistent links for their articles. Persistent links (also known as persistent URLs) are stable links that will consistently take students to a particular full-text article in a library database.

Note that to ensure access by off-campus users, all persistent links should include proxy information in the first segment of the URL:

For example, if you wanted to link to the following persistent URL (noted in bold) in Canvas, then it should look like this:

Some databases include the proxy URL, others do not - so you you need to copy and paste the proxy URL in front of the persistent link.  

Need help locating a persistent link in a particular library database? See the Permalinks LibGuide for instructions on obtaining permalinks from EBSCO, JSTOR, Gale, ProQuest, and Project MUSE databases.

Questions about which library databases have persistent URLs or on how to set up your link in Canvas? Please contact:

Josh Petrusa (x9236 or jpetrusa)

Additional help:

The Center for Academic Technology is available to help you will all your Canvas questions, including additional ways to integrate library resources.

This is just a sampling of some of the Open Educational Resources (OERs) available online. If you're looking for specific OERs, the best person to talk to is your librarian!


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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