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Copyright Toolkit

Copyright Information About Articles and Written Web Content

Do I need permission to use an Article?      

Using the flowchart below, determine if your use of an article(s) requires obtaining permission from the creator or purchasing a license.

Scenario #1: Posting an Article in an Online Class

Question:   I found a great article that illustrates a point that I want to emphasize in this week’s lesson and would like to post it in my online class.  Is this permissible under fair use guidelines?

Answer:  Yes, if this article is available in full text in one of the Rasmussen University Library’s online databases and you provide a link to the article for your students to use to access it.  Rasmussen University pays subscription fees to library database vendors to access resources in full text.  Links to articles contained in these databases can be included in an online course so that students can access them on their own.  Articles that are not available in full text in Rasmussen’s databases or without a Creative Commons license will require permission from the publisher for inclusion in an online course.


Scenario #2: Providing a Physical Copy of an Article in Residential Class  ‚Äč

Question:  I found an article that I would like my students to read to supplement this week’s lesson in my residential course.  Is it considered fair use if I make copies for each of my students?
Answer:  Making copies for all of your students in your residential class is not considered fair use of copyrighted material, unless you've received permission from the copyright holder to do so.  An alternative is to use an article that appears in one of our Library databases and provide students a link to the article so that they can retrieve the article on their own. Articles that are not available in full text in Rasmussen’s databases or without a Creative Commons license will require permission from the publisher for inclusion in an online course.

Scenario #3: Deep Linking to a Specific Webpage or Web Content within a Larger Website 

Question:  I found a resource (article, blog post, specific webpage, definition, financial statements, statistics, etc.) on a website that I would like to utilize in a course, am I able to do this?
Answer:  In most cases, no, you should not be linking to a specific copyright protected document that you’ve found within a larger website in your course. Linking to a specific document or page within a larger website is called “deep linking” and is generally frowned upon because it can lead to confusion about who “owns” or is responsible for the information, and some websites actually prohibit deep linking. In addition, deep links have a greater chance of "breaking" than website homepages.
Process for Deep Linking:
  1. Review the website for a Conditions or Terms of Use page for information or a statement of approval of deep linking.
  2. If no such approval is present, and deep-linking is preferred, request permission from the site. If/when permission is received, store the permission in the Permissions Library.
  3. If the ID or SME prefers not to pursue the permissions process, they should link to the website’s homepage and provide instructions or the name of the specific page students should locate.

Exceptions - Resources that Allow for Deep Linking:

  • Resources found through the library’s databases (work with your programmatic Librarian)
  • Government websites and documents in the public domain
  • Resources under Creative Commons Licensing

Please contact with additional questions.

Open Access Resources 
Some sites provide content (images, videos, music, etc.) that are freely available for use. This type of material is often called “open access”.
Please note that though the resources may be readily available, they often have requirements for attribution and use - check carefully!

Purchasing a License for Print Material

Copyright fees can be paid to the Copyright Clearance Center for protected text materials such as journal articles or books.

NOTE: Faculty are advised to work with their academic dean to gain necessary approvals prior to purchasing a license.
Permission Request Form
You've determined that you need to obtain permission to use material.  This form should be completed by faculty, SMEs, instructional designers, curriculum developers, or anyone working on behalf of Rasmussen University who wishes to incorporate copyright-protected information into a Rasmussen University course.
Please follow the steps below to obtain and document permission granted:
1. Complete the Copyright Permission Request Form provided at the bottom of the page
2. Save the Permission Request Form to your H: Drive or a personal folder
3. Send the completed Copyright Permission Request form to the designated copyright holder
4. Document any permission you obtain from your source (including email) and file with a copy of the completed Permissions Request Form in the "Permissions Documentation" Library housed in SharePoint.


Upload permissions granted/received to the Permissions Documentation Library using the following naming convention:

Course number_Course Name_Date (mm/dd/yyyy)
Example:  J100_IntrotoCriminalJustice_10152015
Note:  In situations where a form is not required, please provide the relevant information specified by your source via the method they specify, such as an online request form.  In those cases, please provide a copy of the submitted information as well as any permission you receive. 
For additional information or questions, please submit a request to:
Permission Request Form
Click the link below to access the Permission Request form.