Copyright and Fair Use

Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines; responses to individual course reserves requests may vary depending on type of material, content, copyright permissions, or other issues. All material is evaluated for course reserves use using fair use guidelines; as these guidelines evolve, the library procedures may evolve, and that all requests that an item be placed on course reserves are subject to these guidelines. U.S. Copyright Act (Title 17, U.S.C.), section 107 permits the reproduction of copyrighted works when done for the purpose of criticism, comments, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research and when the balance of four factors specified in the statute weighs in favor of a finding of fairness. The four factors of fair use (which the library will use in determining if an item can be placed on reserve) are as follows:

  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.

Four factors of Fair Use

Purpose and Character of Use

  • Educational or Commercial
  • Transformative or Reproduction
  • Spontaneous or Repetitive

Nature of the Copyrighted Work

  • Technical or Artistic
  • Factual or Imaginative
  • Published or Unpublished

Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used

  • Small amount vs. Larger quantity than needed to meet pedagogical objective
  • Selection is or is not considered “heart of the work”

Effect of the Use on the Market

  • Alternative to students purchasing original work?
  • Ready market for the original?
  • Avoiding payment of royalties?