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Copyright and Fair Use: Copyright for Reserves

A primer on the U.S. Copyright Act and Fair Use.

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This guide provides a basic primer about copyright and fair use for instruction.  If you have specific questions, please e-mail


These pages were created to provide basic copyright information and are not a substitute for legal advice.


Part I: Materials allowed to be placed on reserves, materials not allowed, and length of time limitations

In compliance with the Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-for-Profit Educational Institutions With Respect to Books and Periodicals (H.R. 94-1476) and Section 107: Fair Use (Title 17, U.S. Code) of the Copyright Act of 1976 the following policy will be applied to copyrighted materials to be placed on reserve.

  1. Portions of copyrighted materials that may be placed on reserve without obtaining copyright permission for a single class and a single semester:
    1. A chapter from a book;
    2. An article from a periodical or newspaper;
    3. A short story, 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;
    5. Commercially produced course packs (Copyright for these items are generally secured by the vendor);
    6. Government publications.
  2. Copyrighted materials that may not be placed on reserve:
    1. A photocopy of an entire book that is in print;
    2. Multiple articles from a single journal issue for a single class.
  3. Length of time copyrighted materials may remain on reserve: Copyrighted materials may be placed on reserve for one semester only. If the instructor wishes to keep copyrighted materials on reserve for consecutive semesters, it is his/her responsibility to submit a new request for the upcoming semester.

Part II - Material Stipulations for Course Reserves

  1. Non-copyrighted materials that may be placed on reserve:
    1. Exams;
    2. Lecture notes;
    3. Student papers
  2. Materials that may not be placed on electronic reserve:
    1. Pages from works intended to be "consumable" in the course of study or teaching. These include copyrighted workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, test booklets and answer sheets.
    2. Coursepacks of any variety will not be accepted for electronic reserve.
  3. The following requests may require copyright permission from the rights holder:
    1. When a journal article is needed on electronic reserve for more than one semester;
    2. When multiple articles from one journal are needed for reserve;
    3. When multiple chapters from a book are needed for reserve.

Subject Guide

Sandy DeGroote's picture
Sandy DeGroote
Professor & Scholarly Communications Librarian