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37 – Awareness of Copyright & Fair Use for Academic Sharing at UW


  • Rosa McGill, Information School, UW Seattle
  • Adelina Tomova, Information School, UW Seattle
  • Jamie Ramos, Information School, UW Seattle
  • Nancy Nightingale, Information School, UW Seattle


Because Copyright and Fair Use impact academic institutions, it is important to understand the extent to which the academic community is aware of these legal frameworks. This paper investigates faculty’s level of awareness of and willingness to comply with Fair Use and the University of Washington’s Guidelines for Fair Use. The research is comprised of an analysis of existing laws and policies on the subject, and the results of a survey distributed to faculty from three programs at the University of Washington based on their subject-matter proximity to the field of information management. The results of the 7-question survey with 19 participants suggest that most faculty self-identify as being at least somewhat aware of copyright and fair use. While a majority of participants indicated they feel that they comply with copyright to some extent, fewer indicated conducting any formal evaluation of their materials for compliance. About half of participants feel comfortable self-managing their copyright, but note various complicating factors including time constraints, the need for more information, and accepted non-compliance. This research provides insight into the University of Washington’s copyright policy and faculty compliance, specifically the institution’s assumption that faculty are able to self-manage their licensing and permissions to be in compliance with Fair Use. The research indicates a need for further instruction and training to fulfill the University’s expectations.