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HACC Library - Copyright Information

Reserve Scenarios

Using the Library's Electronic Reserves

  • Scenario: An instructor would like to place several articles and book chapters on reserve at the Library for students to access electronically. Access will be limited to only those students enrolled in the class.
  • Fair Use: Electronic reserves can provide short term, limited access to materials selected by instructors.  Applying the fair use provision of copyright law is critical in library electronic reserve services.
  • Instructors submitting materials to be posted on the Library's ERes system are responsible for evaluating, on a case-by-case basis, whether the use of each copyrighted work requires permission or qualifies as fair use.


Repeated Use of Articles

  • Scenario: An instructor has found an article in a professional journal that is particularly useful for a class she teaches every semester. She would like to include the article as reading this semester, and then again next time she teaches the course. Is this a fair use?
  • Fair Use: The repeated use of a copyrighted work, from term-to-term, requires careful evaluation. It requires one to consider the impact of using a copyrighted work on any market for the original article, including the permissions market. Repeated use of a copyrighted work weighs against fair use.


Textbook Chapters for Classroom Use

  • Scenario: In the attempt to save students money a professor scans several chapters from an expensive textbook for her course and uploads a PDF file of the chapters for students to read. This is the only material the students need from this particular textbook to complete class assignments. Is this a fair use?
  • Fair Use: No, this is not a fair use. A four factor analysis of these circumstances would reasonably conclude that the market is directly affected by this activity. Students who would otherwise be expected to purchase the book no longer need to and the publisher is thus deprived of sales. An alternative approach for the teacher would be to place an appropriately acquired copy of the textbook on reserve in the Libraries or to ask students to purchase the text from the bookstore.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     free image from    

Other Scenarios

Uploading an Article Obtained from the Library to D2L

  • Scenario: An instructor wants her students to read an article from a professional journal. She accesses the full text of the article as a PDF through the  Libraries' databases. She saves the article to her computer and then uploads it to her course's WebCT site for students to download
  • Fair Use: Not the PDF. Since the instructor obtained the article from a Libraries licensed electronic resource she needs to understand general limitations and restrictions on use that may be contained in the license agreement between the publisher and the Libraries. The terms of such license agreements control how the materials may be used.
  • Frequently license agreements do not allow copying of PDF files and reposting them to an instructor's web site or WebCT site. However, in numerous instances the instructor can make articles available to students from a course web page through a direct link.

Making Personal Copies                                   free image from     

  • Scenario: An instructor finds an article in a professional journal that will be helpful to her in future research projects. She would like to make a copy of the journal article for her personal files.
  • Fair Use: Yes, making a personal copy of a copyrighted work for research and reference is a fair use.


Photographs of Art

  • Scenario: An instructor would like to take digital photographs of paintings, sculptures, or architectural works and share them with her class.
  • Fair Use: Works of art and architecture that are not in the public domain may still be available to copy in the form of a photographic image. Photographic reproductions are generally lower-quality and would not likely compete in the same market as the original.
  • Also, remember that peoples' faces may not appear in photographs that will be publicly displayed without a signed release.


Posting Readings on D2L

  • Scenario: An instructor scans excerpts from journals, textbooks, and various other sources and creates PDF files of all of the readings. The instructor announces to the class that the readings will be available online at the course WebCT site. Is this fair use?
  • Fair Use: Fair use is determined by the results of the four factor analysis conducted for each work. In this scenario, the instructor must conduct a four factor analysis for each journal article, each textbook section, and any other work she wishes to include on the class WebCT site. The result may be mixed and fair use might apply to some works while others may require permission from the rights owner for inclusion on the class website. (How new or recent is the material, is it out of print, how much of the entire work is being used, etc.)

Electronic Scenarios

Posting Copyrighted Article to Web Page or LibGuide

  • Scenario: A professor has posted his class notes on a web page (LibGuide) available to the public. He wants to scan an article from a copyrighted journal and add it to his web page.
  • Fair Use: No, if access is open to the public, then this use is not a fair use. No exclusively educational purpose can be guaranteed by putting the article on the web, and such conduct would arguably violate the copyright holder's right of public distribution.


Copying Student Papers

  • Scenario: An instructor copies the papers submitted by the students in the class and brings them to the Libraries to place on electronic reserve.
  • Fair Use: No, the students' papers are copyrighted and each of the students will own the copyright to their papers. The instructor will need permission from each student to copy the papers. She should get the permissions before bringing the papers to the Libraries.
  • If an instructor gets permission to copy a student authored work for use in Libraries reserves, she would need new permission to use the work again during any subsequent academic term.

        Please note: Certain uses of student work may require compliance with the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA).


Putting Chapters from a Book on Electronic Reserve

  • Scenario: An economics professor finds a great book in the library that has four short chapters.  They directly address a key topic of the course. Is it a fair use to digitize these chapters and have them placed on electronic reserves?
  • Fair Use: Maybe - Based on the first factor, the use would be fair - educational use. The works are not highly creative, so the second factor also supports fair use. Four chapters could be problematic according to the third use factor, which limits the amount and substantiality of what is used. If the work were 400 pages and each chapter was 10 pages, then in essence only 10% of the entire work--a small portion would be used. This could be fair use. If, however, the chapters selected represented the central content pivotal to the entire work, the substantiality of the chapters would not support fair use.
  • If these chapters are to be used in reserves repeatedly, permission will need to be obtained.