In general, Copyright Law prohibits reproducing and distributing copyrighted works. A simple way to provide access to copyright-protected materials is to link to them, rather than reproduce the content. This works well for materials available in the library databases, as well as works available for free (but not freely licensed) on legitimate websites.
When linking is not possible, the "Fair Use Doctrine" (Section 107) allows a limited amount of copying for purposes such as teaching and scholarship. In determining whether the use made of a work in a particular case is a Fair Use, the factors to be considered include:
The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes;
The nature of the copyrighted work;
The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyright work as a whole; and
The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Creative Commons licensing is at the heart of the OER movement. CC allows creators to specify more flexible forms of copyright that allows "others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work." There are a range of options for the type of use that CC licenses allow: