Copyright Policy and Resource Guide Course Packs

Can I make copies of copyrighted material for use in my course packs?

Yes. Course pack material of the following type and amounts is certain to comply with the congressionally endorsed fair use guidelines. These guidelines are instructive when deciding what material you would like to include. Sometimes, your intended use falls outside of these guidelines and a more extensive fair use analysis is necessary (See Section VI "Course Packs & Fair Use.")

Single Copies for Scholarly Needs or Library Reserve*

  1. A chapter of a book.
  2. A newspaper or periodical article. 
  3. A short story, short essay, or short poem.
  4. A chart, diagram, drawing, graph, cartoon, or picture.

*Articles, etc. that are submitted for Reserve are considered the property of the instructor and will be returned at term-end. (See "Library Reserve Services", for further information.)

Multiple Copies for Classroom Use

Use of multiple copies for the classroom is permissible when the use meets the following tests of 1) brevity, 2) spontaneity and 3) cumulative effect. In addition, each copy must also include prominent notice that it is copyrighted material. Remember that the above factors work in concert. Your classroom use is permissible when your intended use of the copyrighted material meets all three tests.


Prose: Either (1) a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (2) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less. An excerpt of 500 words or less is allowable in all circumstances.

Poetry: (1) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages, or (2) an excerpt of not more than 250 words. (Each of the numerical limits above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished prose paragraph or line of a poem.)

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

Special Works: Certain works in poetry or prose or in "poetic prose," which may combine language with illustrations and which fall short of 2,500 words, may not be reproduced in their entirety. However, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such a work, and containing not more than 10% of the words found in the text, may be reproduced.


The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual instructor.

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.

*Note: What spontaneity isn't:

Spontaneity is not an excuse for us to wait until the last possible minute to copy and distribute material to one another when: (1) we are aware that the material does not fall into one of the safe harbors outlined above (2) we've analyzed its intended use and determined that it is not within the fair use guidelines and (3) we decided to use the material when there was still ample time to request permission. Permissions usually require a four to six week notice to the college textbook manager. Sometimes longer is needed for the hard to find copyright owner.



The copying of the material is for only one course, with no more than one copy per student in the course. 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 a term.

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

Should it become necessary for you to gain permission for your course pack material, note that the permission is granted only for so long as the license grants permission. Usually, the copyright owner grants permission only for the duration of the course, in our case that's one semester.

Photocopying Music for Educational Purposes

What Quantity Conforms to the Law?

For a Performance - Emergency copying is permitted so long as replacement copies are subsequently purchased.

Single Copies for Personal or Library Reserve Use (Academic Purposes Other Than Performance) - An entire performable unit (section, movement, aria, etc.) if the unit is out of print or available only in a larger work.

Multiple Copies for Classroom (Non-Performance) Use - Excerpts may comprise no more than 10% of a whole work and may not constitute a performable unit.

Photocopies Obtained Through Interlibrary Loan

Section 108(d) of the Copyright Law of 1976 specifies that a library may copy "no more than one article or other contribution to a copyrighted collection or periodical issue, or to . . . a small part of any other copyrighted work." The copy must become the property of the requestor, and its use is limited to "private study, scholarship, or research."

Interlibrary Loan activities are further restricted in the aggregate by The National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU). The commission was created in 1976 to develop guidelines to assist librarians and copyright proprietors in understanding the amount of photocopying for use in interlibrary loan arrangements permitted under the copyright law. These guidelines cap the amount of photocopying the Inter Library Loan office can request for the College community in any calendar year. The thrust of the "Guidelines" is to quantify the maximum number of photocopied articles-five-that can be requested from the most recent five years of a periodical the library does not subscribe to. Individuals requesting copies in excess of the CONTU allowance may be asked to pay a royalty or the fee necessary to obtain such copies commercially.