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Photocopied Reserve Materials, Copyright, and Fair Use at the Hartzler Library 
A Guide for Faculty

Reserves at the Sadie A. Hartzler library enable equitable access to library materials where demand is high.
The Hartzler Library will not knowingly violate the Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

Photocopied materials placed on reserve must either 1) meet the fair use provisions of the Copyright Law of the United States , or 2) be accompanied by a permission letter from the copyright owner. The faculty member placing items on reserve is responsible for securing proper permission to use copyrighted materials from the publisher. Library staff will assist faculty in finding addresses of publishers. A sample permission letter is available in Microsoft Word and PDF formats. Copyright also applies to materials that are out of print; faculty members must make a "reasonable effort" to contact the publisher or author if the material is not currently in print. 

For photocopies, each copy must include a notice of copyright. For material placed on reserve under fair use provisions, the library can stamp items with an appropriate notice. Where permission has been secured from a copyright owner, each item must include the notice of copyright permission supplied by the owner.

Many faculty are now using Blackboard to provide students access to documents including articles available through EMU licensed databases. Please remember copyright applies to all materials placed in Blackboard and license agreements that govern the use of library electronic/digital information resources do not grant users unrestricted rights to download and re-post content. The library recommends using persistent links for such material. To be in copmliance with copyright faculty need to provide a full citation to materials they are linking to. This will also be helpful if material become unavailable. This guide shows how to find the right links and other information about persistent links. 

Fair use may be briefly stated as follows for photocopies: "Photocopying for educational use must be of a limited nature, determined by the brevity of the photocopied material, and the spontaneity and cumulative effect of its creation" (WSL). "Application of the fair use factors is inherently imprecise; all factors are interrelated and no one factor is entitled to inordinate weight. Consequently, 'fair use' may differ from one work or situation to another" (WSL).

Educational use alone is not sufficient to establish fair use!

Fair use factors: Purpose, Nature, Amount & Effect

Favoring fair use
Not favoring fair use
Teaching (including multiple copies
Commercial activity
Profiting from use
Nonprofit educational Institution
Bad-faith behavior
Denying credit to original author
News reporting
Restricted use
Published work
Unpublished work
Factual or nonfiction based
Highly creative (art, music, novels, films, plays)
Important to favor educational objectives
Small quantity
Large portion or whole work used
Portion used is not central or significant to entire work
Portion used is central ot work or "heart of the work"
Amount is appropriate for favored educational use
Users owns lawfully acquired or purchased copy of original work
cound replace sale of copyrighted work
one or few copies made
significantly impairs market or potential market for copyrighted work
No significant effect on the market or potential market for copyrighted work
Reasonably available licensing mechanism for use of the copyrighted work
No similar project marketed by copyrighted holder
affordable permission available for work
Lack of licensing mechanism
Numerous copies made
Work will be made accessible on the web or other public forum
Repeated or long term use

Examples of permissible use:

  • Material is chosen so closely to the start of class that it is unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.
  • A single item, e.g. a book chapter or periodical article.
  • Material from recent newspapers or news periodicals.
  • Material in the public domain such as government documents or for which the copyright has expired (generally more than 75 years old).
  • Material that states photocopying is permitted.

Examples of use that violate the copyright law:

  • A photocopy of a substantial portion of a book.
  • Repetitive use of the same photocopied material for more than one semester.
  • Use of more than one article from one issue of a periodical other than a newspaper or news periodical.
  • Copying from materials intended to be consumable, such as workbooks, standardized tests, etc.

If you have questions about copyright issues for library reserves, or questions regarding fair use for classroom use of photocopied materials contact Jennifer Ulrich.

The following books are available for your use.

Copyright law for librarians and educators : creative strategies and practical solutions by
Kenneth D. Crews. Chicaog, ILL : American Library Association. 346.730482 C927c 2006 (in the library office.) 

Copyright for teachers and librarians by Rebecca P. Butler. New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, c2004. 346.730482 B986c 2004.

Complete copyright : an everyday guide for librarians by Carrie Russell. Chicago : American Library Association, 2004. 346.730482 C737c 2004. (in the library office.)