Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Ann E. Barron, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey D. Kromrey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Frank E. Breit, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rosann W. Collins, Ph.D.


copyright compliance, online course materials, infringement deterrence


Digital technology has vastly increased the ability of individuals to copy, produce and distribute information, making the behavior of individuals a far more significant factor in the enforcement of copyright and fair use laws than in the past. This research investigates the resources used by university faculty and their knowledge of fair use regarding web-based course materials. Specifically, the research A) identifies prevailing trends in faculty use of resource materials in the development of web-based courses including digital images, text, video and sound; B) determines how faculty members have gained and applied their fair use knowledge; and C) interprets any differences based on demographic data.

To obtain data for this study, the researcher designed, developed and posted online an IRB-approved survey instrument. In addition, the researcher used an online focus group within Blackboard to obtain qualitative data to assist in guiding interpretation of the quantitative results from the survey.

Quantitative findings indicated that aside from the small percentage of faculty members who have had web design training or copyright training, very few are aware of this institution's specific copyright and fair use policies. Qualitatively, this study pointed to the themes of lack of training, a desire to comply, and urgency in designing online course materials in time for the start of a new semester as a major decision-making factor in whether to include/exclude copyrighted content. Despite these difficulties, most focus group participants reported they knew the appropriate person or department to ask for guidance, pointing to the role of deterrence theory in their decision-making.