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Library and E-reserves : SVSU Zahnow Library: Copyright and Reserves

Policies and procedures for creating and maintaining library-based course reserves and Canvas-based E-reserves. Guide authors: Thom Zantow and Heather Hillaker

Copyright and Fair Use

The policy governing Reserves is based on the fair use provisions of the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Section 107 of the Copyright Act expressly permits the making of multiple copies for classroom use:

  • Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106a, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining fair use, four factors are considered:

  • Purpose:  the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • Nature:  the nature of the copyrighted work
  • Amount:  the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • Effect:  the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Balancing Considerations for Fair Use

Purpose and Character of Use

Favors Fair Use

  •  Nonprofit Educational
  •  Teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use)
  •  Research or Scholarship
  •  Criticism, Comment, News Reporting, or Parody
  •  Transformative (use changes work for new utility or purpose)
  •  Personal Study
  •  Use is necessary to achieve your intended educational purpose

Against Fair Use

  •  Commercial activity
  •  Profiting from use
  •  Entertainment
  •  Non-transformative
  • For publication
  • For public distribution
  • Use exceeds that which is necessary to achieve your intended educational purpose

Nature of Copyrighted Work

Favors Fair Use

  • Published work
  • Factual or nonfiction work
  • Important to educational objectives

Against Fair Use

  • Unpublished work
  • Highly creative work (art, music, novels, films, plays, poetry, fiction)
  • Consumable work (workbook, test)

Significance of Portion Used

Favors Fair Use

  • Small portion of work used
  • Portion used is not central or significant to entire work as a whole
  • Amount taken is narrowly tailored to educational purpose, such as criticism, comment, research or subject being taught

Against Fair Use

  • Large portion or entire work used
  • Portion used is central to work or essence of work
  • Amount taken is more than necessary for criticism, comment, research or subject being taught

Market Effect

Favors Fair Use

  • No significant effect on market or potential market for copyrighted work
  • Use stimulates market for original work
  • No similar product marketed by the copyright holder
  • No longer in print
  • Licensing or permission unavailable
  • Supplemental classroom reading
  • One or few copies made or distributed
  • User owns lawfully acquired or purchased copy of original work
  • Restricted access to students or other appropriate group

 Against Fair Use

  • Significantly impairs market or potential market for copyrighted work or derivative
  • Licensing or permission reasonably available.
  • Numerous copies made or distributed
  • Repeated or long-term use that demonstrably affects the market for the work
  • Required classroom reading
  • User does not own lawfully acquired or purchased copy of original work
  • Unrestricted access on the web or other public forum

Revised for use by Saginaw Valley State University based upon the University System of Georgia “Fair Use Checklist”,

Fair Use Suggestions

Materials that can be placed on reserve without obtaining copyright permission:

  • Materials already covered by copyright permissions, such as links to articles in subscription databases (see "Persistant Linking to Library Sources")
  • Your lecture notes, exams, and course materials which you’ve created
  • Publications of the US Government (there are exceptions)
  • Published works for which copyright has expired or does not apply, i.e. works in the Public Domain

Materials that may require copyright permission before being placed on reserve:

  • Journal articles, or excerpts from them
  • Book chapters, or excerpts from them
  • Musical works, scores, lyrics, or sound recordings
  • Pictorial/graphic works, art, sculpture, photographs
  • Audiovisual works, motion pictures, videos

Typically, copyright permission must be obtained when:

  • When a journal article, book chapter or a portion of a work is on reserve for consecutive semesters.
  • When multiple articles from one issue of a journal are needed for reserve during the same semester.
  • When multiple chapters from a book are needed during the same semester.

For online digital courses, see The Original TEACH Act Toolkit created by Peggy Hoon of LSU.