This document does not in any way attempt to cover the entire copyright law. It addresses only those portions of the law that pertain to the Library and its services.


The law codifies the right of fair use in general terms. The following four criteria is specified to be considered in determining whether or not a particular instance of copying is considered fair:


  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purpose.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work, (there is no single provision that governs all types of work. Each instance of copying must be judged individually according to character and purpose of the work being copied.)
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. (In general, assuming the other necessary factors are present, copying for classroom purposes of extracts or portions, which are not self-contained and which are not substantial in length, should be considered fair use.)
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work. (A use that supplants any part of the normal market for a copyrighted work would ordinarily be considered an infringement.)

PRINTED MATERIALS (Books/Periodicals/Pamphlets/etc.): 

Some guidelines have been put forth as a result of initial agreements between representatives of the educational community and the publishing industry. These guidelines are outlined below:

A. Single Copying for Teachers: 
A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a  teacher at his or her individual request for his or her scholarly research or use in teaching or  preparation to teach a class:

1. A chapter from a book; 
2. An article from a periodical or newspaper; 
3. A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work; 
4. A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.




B. Multiple copies for Classroom use: Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion; provided that: 

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 notice of copyright.




C. Definitions: 

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

b. Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work or not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.(Each of the numerical limits in a. and b. above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph.) 
c. Illustrations: One chart, graph diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture per book or per periodical issue. 
d. "Special" works: Certain works in poetry, prose or in "poetic prose" which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety. Paragraph b. above notwithstanding such "special works" may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than 10% of the words found in the text thereof, may be reproduced.


2. Spontaneity: 

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


3. Cumulative Effect: 

a. The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
b. Not more than one short poem, article, 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 term.
c. There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term. 

(The limitations stated in b. and c. above shall not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.)




D.  Prohibited copying: 

Although the concept of fair use does allow for a certain amount of interpretation, there are instances when the user would clearly need to obtain permission to copy a work. The following are uses when such permission would be necessary:


1.  Repetitive copying: 

The classroom or reserve use of copied materials in multiple courses over successive years will normally require advance permission from the owner of the copyright.
2.  Copying for profit: 
In no case should a faculty member charge students more than the actual cost of copying the material without the permission of the copyright owner. 
3.  Consumable works: 
Works that are consumed in the classroom, such as standardized tests, exercises, and workbooks, require permission from the copyright owner. 
4.  Creation of anthologies as basic text material for a course: 
Creation of a collective work or anthology by copying a number of copyrighted articles and excerpts to be purchased and used together as the basic text for a course will in most instances require the permission of the copyright owners. Such copying is more likely to be considered as a substitute for purchase of a book and thus less likely to be deemed fair use


A. A single copy may be made form any one book, periodical, or newspaper, provided the copy is not sold or republished.

B. It is illegal to copy more than a single picture from any one book, periodical or newspaper without the permission from the publisher.
C. This rule applies to all media formats of reproduction, including paper, transparencies, slides, photographs, or videotapes.





A. Recordings may not be reproduced in their entirety, for any reason without permission from the publisher.

B. Portions of some tapes or records may be reproduced, if the Fair use criteria are met.





The following guidelines for off-air recording apply only to recording by non-profit educational institutions, for use in instruction and not for entertainment. 




1. A broadcast program may be recorded off-air simultaneously with broadcast transmission (including simultaneous cable re-transmission) and retained by a non-profit educational institution for a period not to exceed the first forty-five (45) consecutive calendar days after date of recording. Upon conclusion of such retention period, all off-air recordings must be erased or destroyed immediately. "Broadcast programs" are television programs transmitted by television stations for reception by the general public without charge. 

2. Off-air recordings may be used once by individual teachers in the course of relevant teaching activities, and repeated once only when instructional reinforcement is necessary, in classrooms and similar places devoted to instruction within a single building, cluster or campus, as well as in the homes of students receiving formalized home instruction, during the first ten (10) consecutive school days in the forty-five (45) day calendar day retention period. "School days" are school session days -- not counting weekends, holidays, vacations, examination periods, or other scheduled interruptions -- within the forty-five (45) calendar day retention period. 
3. Off-air recordings may be made only at the request of and used by individual teachers, and may not be regularly recorded in anticipation of requests. No broadcast program may be recorded off-air more than once at the request of the same teacher, regardless of the number of times the program may be broadcast. 
4. A limited number of copies may be reproduced from each off-air recording to meet the legitimate needs of teachers under these guidelines. Each such additional copy shall be subject to all provisions governing the original recording. 
5. After the first ten (10) consecutive school days, off-air recordings may be used up to the end of the forty- five (45) calendar day retention period only for teacher evaluation purposes, i.e., to determine whether or not to include the broadcast program in the teaching curriculum, and may not be used in the recording institution for student exhibition or any other non-evaluation purpose without authorization. 
6. Off-air recordings need not be used in their entirety, but the recorded programs may not be altered from their original content. Off-air recordings may not be physically or electronically combined or merged to constitute teaching anthologies or compilations. 
7. All copies of off-air recordings must include the copyright notice on the broadcast program as recorded. 
8. Educational institutions are expected to establish appropriate control procedures to maintain the integrity of these guidelines.


1. Computer programs are specifically defined as literary works and thus follow the same copyright guidelines. They may not be copied unless fair use criteria are met.
2. The owner of a computer program may make a copy of the program provided it is necessary for the program's use or that the copy is for archival purposes and would be destroyed if the original were sold or given away.
3. Any written material that accompanies the program (i.e., manuals or lesson guides) is also protected by copyright.




A. The Library will not change the format of audio-visual software without written permission of the copyright holder. This applies even if the desired format is not commercially available.

B.  Examples: We will not make the following changes:

1. Filmstrips to slides 
2. Films to video tapes 
3. Records to tapes 
4. Printed script to audio tape




The Library adheres to the guidelines developed by the National Commission on New Technological uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU Guidelines). In part, these Guidelines provide that for any given copyrighted periodical title, filled requests within any calendar year may not exceed six or more copies of an article or articles published in such periodical within five years prior to the request.




A. Writings and other materials that have never been copyrighted may be copied without restriction.
B. Published works with expired copyright may be copied. Any work published before 1906 also falls into this category.
C. U.S. Government Publications carry no restrictions.




1. The Library staff will not knowingly violate the copyright law or assist patrons doing so.
2. Patrons may be held liable for use of Library equipment to violate the copyright law. This may involve civil and/or criminal liability.




To go beyond the limitations discussed in the preceding sections, you must obtain written permission from the publisher. A sample letter is included with this document. See the Director of the Library for information on this procedure.