When selecting articles and content for your course, department, or personal web site, post only the articles you wrote and retained rights to, or articles the publisher, who now owns the rights, allows you to post. Sometimes a publisher allows an author to post the full-text of an article in pre-print form rather than the “version-of-record,” which is the final, copy-edited version. Refer to the contract between you and your publisher for a definitive answer, or contact the publisher directly for clarification.

Creative Commons-licensed content and material in the public domain may be added to your course without permissions, but with appropriate attribution. An electronic link to articles available in proprietary databases the library subscribes to is required because database licenses often stipulate that we link to their articles. A license is the University’s legally-binding document proscribing content use. Scanning and uploading the pdf of a proprietary article to Blackboard is usually a copyright infringement, unless you have permission from the copyright holder.

Please consider the following guidelines when proposing to digitize readings, images, text, graphics, etc. for a website hosted by a university server and accessed by students registered in a course of study taught via George Mason University. If you have any questions, please contact the Copyright Resources Office.

  • Post only your own course syllabi, study sheets, sample exams, etc., on your course or department website (Blackboard, WebCT, or any open source courseware).
  • If you are using any works not authored or created by you, the University Libraries’ Copyright Resources Office is equipped to handle all types of permission requests including applications for Distance Education. However, an evaluation of fair use is encouraged prior to seeking copyright permissions.
  • The University Libraries’ Electronic Course Reserves service was created to relieve you of the responsibility of seeking permissions to digitize copyrighted readings, images, etc., for your students to access remotely. In fact, many journals are already licensed for use by George Mason University students and faculty via databases to which the library subscribes.

Examples of items that may need permission requests include:

  • Online articles from newspapers, journals and other periodicals not already licensed by University Libraries;
  • Print copies AND online versions inaccessible through University Libraries;
  • Any writings found online NOT accompanied by an explicit permission grant or Creative Commons license;
  • Copyrighted images scanned from books, journals, or other websites; and
  • Video and audio segments from videos taped, purchased, or rented by you or borrowed from University Libraries.