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Course Reserves - Copyright Guidelines

Reserved Materials Must Comply with Copyright Law. Be sure to include a copy of the original copyright statement with all electronic and photocopied requests. We will get back to you if there are any copyright issues that need to be addressed.

The most specific instruction of copyright law pertaining to course reserves is the requirement that each reserve item includes a copy of the original copyright statement. A copy of the copyright statement must be submitted with your items or we can not process your course reserves request.

Federal law permits some uses of reproductions of copyrighted works in the areas of teaching and scholarship using educational fair use guidelines. Each item submitted must be considered on a case-by-case basis using four determining factors:


  1. What is the purpose of the proposed use?
  2. What is the nature of the copyrighted work to be used?
  3. How much of the copyrighted work will be used?
  4. What is the effect on the market or potential market for the copyrighted work?


Reserves staff will assist you in navigating the copyright labyrinth by determining copyright holders (including identifying “orphan works” where the copyright holder is impossible to find), fair use evaluations, and even creating copyright permission letters for you to send.

To help us process these materials quickly and accurately please provide as much information as possible regarding the original source of the copy and submit your items well in advance of the time your students will need to access them. Early submission is particularly important at the beginning of the semester when Reserves staff are called upon to process hundreds of course reserve lists and thousands of reserve items.