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Library Policies, Procedures and Guidelines: Reserve Materials Copyright Guidelines


A faculty member may place original, Library-owned materials or personal copies of course-related material on reserve for as long as necessary. Photocopied materials must, however, adhere to the copyright guidelines outlined below based on The Copyright Law of the United States ( Title 17 U. S. Code ):

At the request of a faculty member, the Library may place on reserve photocopies of copyrighted works in accordance with guidelines similar to those for multiple copies for classroom use. The Library believes that these guidelines apply to the Library reserve collection to the extent that it functions as an extension of classroom readings or reflects an individual student’s right to photocopy for his/her personal scholastic use under the doctrine of fair use.

The following is an attempt to briefly outline what is allowed and disallowed under the Fair Use Guidelines as they pertain to reserve materials. The guidelines that follow should serve as a guide and should not be viewed as a comprehensive interpretation of the law.

§ 102. Subject matter of copyright: In general

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

  • (1) literary works;
  • (2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
  • (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
  • (4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
  • (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
  • (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
  • (7) sound recordings; and
  • (8) architectural works.
    • (b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

(Pub. L. 94-553, title I, Sec. 101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2544; Pub. L. 101-650, title VII, Sec. 703, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5133.)

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections § 106 and § 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

(Pub. L. 94-553, title I, Sec. 101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2546; Pub. L. 101-650, title VI, Sec. 607, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5132; Pub. L. 102-492, Oct. 24, 1992, 106 Stat. 3145.)


Requests for placing photocopied material on reserve should meet the following guidelines:

  1. The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below; and
  2. Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below; and
  3. Each copy includes a copyright notice.


Prose: A complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.

Poetry: A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages, or an excerpt from a longer poem of not more than 250 words.

Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.


The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative Effect

The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.

Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay, or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class.

There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term.

Additional Criteria

Copying shall not be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.

Copying shall not be used to create or to substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works. Such replacement or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts there from are accumulated or reproduced and used separately.

There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be consumable in the course of study or of teaching. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets and like consumable material.

Copying shall not substitute for the purchase of books, publishers’ reprints or periodicals.

Reviewed August 2010