Skip to Main Content

Copyright: NWC Library-Licensed Materials

This guide provides information (not legal advice) to support NWC community decision-making in the use of copyright protected material in research, learning, and teaching.

Purpose of Guide and Disclaimer

This guide intends to refer NWC community users to accurate information. However, information received from the NWC Library or the NWC Copyright Librarian is neither legal advice/opinion nor legal counsel to the college or any members of the NWC community. Please contact the NWC Office of General Counsel or NWC Staff Judge Advocate's Office for NWC-related legal advice and interpretation of the law, or personal counsel for personal legal advice. The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by NWC of sites or the information, products, or services contained therein, nor does NWC exercise editorial control over the information found at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this guide. U.S. copyright law is subject to change.

Using Library-Licensed Materials

NWC authorized users of library-licensed resources must follow each platform's contractual terms of use.

If you are using library-licensed materials for a course on Blackboard or in Leganto, a best practice is to provide permalinks or citations of the specific resource (not a PDF). This is beneficial for many reasons:

  1. Linking avoids breach of contracts with NWC vendors. Many of the vendor license contracts do not allow for electronic reuse (posting a PDF) in Blackboard or Leganto. For this reason, faculty should use permalinks for library-licensed materials unless the license terms are explicit that your use is permissible. Please see note below for Harvard Business Publishing direct linking restriction.
  2. Linking avoids copyright infringement. Providing a PDF in Blackboard or Leganto for students to download or access directly may infringe on a rightsholder's rights built into U.S. Copyright Law.
  3. Usage statistics for that library resource will give an accurate picture of the NWC community's history of use and desire to use it in the future. This will inform the NWC Library's collection development decisions. If a resource has low usage statistics, then it might be considered for cancellation. 
  4. Consider not linking and only providing a citation to students. This choice supports and scaffolds the information literacy learning objective in research skills to build life long learners. If you provide citations without direct links, students will learn how to autonomously search and navigate the library's collections for the specified resources. This is a great way to prepare students for their NWC assignments using library electronic resources as well as their future career(s) using other libraries' and various online resources.

Need help with Leganto citations? Check out the E-Reserves LibGuide

Having difficulty accessing a library-licensed resource? Please email 


  • Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) has a license agreement with EBSCO that explicitly restricts the inclusion of direct links to its articles (including Harvard Business Review) in courses, such as through Blackboard or in a syllabus.
    • In other words, it is not permissible to direct link to HBP articles in your courses.
    • What are your options?
      • You may include only the citation with no link (authorized users can then find the article in the library's catalog).
      • You may include a permalink to the individual Primo resource page or to EBSCOhost Business Source Premier Database (BSPD) and instruct students to access the article through authentication (using their CAC or Blackboard account).
  • The large majority of NWC library-licensed journals and publishers do not have such restrictions, but it is important to check the licensing terms found in Primo's resource pages (look for term "Electronic Link") or from the individual vendor's terms of use tab once the electronic resource is opened. Please see the box below for more details.

NWC Licenses and Terms of Use

Authorized Users

There is a clause in every license with a library vendor that names the "authorized users" of the resource. In most cases, the library negotiates for patron rights for walk-in users. The term walk-in user can be defined differently depending on the vendor but, in general, means physically-present in the library users from outside of the NWC community. The permission allows walk-in users access to an electronic resource through a computer connected to the local network or computer in the library. Other authorized users, in general, may include currently enrolled students and active faculty and staff.  

Authorized users included in the license must adhere to the terms of use specified in the license. The library has technology in place to restrict unauthorized users from accessing the library electronic resources. Terms of use can refer to interlibrary loan services (ILL), authorized search activity of the resource during a search session (e.g., downloading or printing), use in online course preparation, and scholarly sharing. Navigating these license terms of use can be confusing, so please reach out to the Copyright Librarian for further clarification. 

Electronic Resource Licenses and Terms of Use in Primo

A "license" is a contract between the library and a vendor specifying how to use an eBook, journal article, or streaming video. Please keep in mind that contract law supersedes copyright law. This means that even if copyright law allows for a specific use, the license with the vendor may restrict that use and the terms of the license must be followed. Contracts and licenses are enforceable over the provisions of copyright law. NWC Library strives to negotiate for the broadest licensing terms to align with copyright law, but vendors vary on their final agreements/contracts and NWC is bound to these terms of use. 

NWC faculty, staff, and students are responsible for reading and following the terms of use for an electronic resource. Terms of use vary between publisher, so it is important to read the fine print. 

Terms of use are located on the individual electronic resource page in Primo as well as within each journal or eBook platform. Terms of use can be found in a Primo individual electronic resource page's section titled Links to View Online. Please click on SHOW LICENSE (image shown below) to view the licensed terms of use for the individual resource.

Clicking on SHOW LICENSE will open up the license terms (see image below) for that particular electronic resource and will be important for you to review in order to make an informed decision on how to legally use that resource in your research as well as personal and/or educational objective(s) without breaching NWC's contract with that specific vendor. These terms focus on permissions and restrictions for interlibrary loan (ILL), scholarly sharing, printing, downloading, linking, remote access, walk-in use, etc.

Please note that when a license field says Silent, it means that the license does not indicate whether or not a permission is given on a matter. It is up to interpretation of the license (and following copyright law) in that case. Still have questions? Contact the NWC Copyright Office:

Note: For guidance on eBooks and remote access please visit NWC's eBooks guide.

*To learn more about copyright and contracts in the library, please see ARL's Copyright and Contracts: Issues & Strategies (2022)