In an attempt to offer guidance to faculty and libraries, the American Library Association issued a recommendation to libraries regarding photocopying for reserve activities. This model policy has been adapted for use by the University’s library and is reproduced below.
At the request of a faculty member, a library may photocopy and place on reserve excerpts from copyrighted works in its collection. In general, the library may photocopy materials for reserve shelf use for the convenience of students both in preparing class assignments and in pursuing informal educational activities which higher education requires, such as advanced independent study and research.
If the faculty request asks for only one copy to be placed on reserve, the library may photocopy an entire article, or an entire chapter from a book, or an entire poem.
Requests for multiple copies on reserve should meet the following guidelines:
- The amount of material should be reasonable in relation to the total amount of material assigned for one term of a course taking into account the nature of the course, its subject matter and level;
- The number of copies should be reasonable in light of the number of students enrolled, the difficulty and timing of assignments, and the number of other courses which may assign the same material;
- The materials should contain a notice of copyright;
- The effect of photocopying the material should not be detrimental to the market for the work. (In general, the library should own at least one copy of the work.)
For example, a faculty member may place on reserve, as a supplement to the course textbook, a reasonable number of copies of articles from academic periodicals or chapters from books.
A reasonable number of copies will in most instances be less than six, but factors such as the length or difficulty of the assignment, the number of enrolled students and the length of time allowed for completion of the assignment may permit more in unusual circumstances.
In addition, a faculty member may also request that multiple copies of photocopied copyrighted materials be placed on the reserve shelf if there is insufficient time to obtain permission from the copyright owner. For example, a professor may place on reserve several photocopies of an entire article from a recent issue of TIME magazine or the NEW YORK TIMES in lieu of distributing a copy to each member of the class.
Please keep in mind: if there is any doubt as to whether a particular instance of photocopying can be considered fair use in the reserve shelf context, the copyright owner’s permission should be requested.
Materials placed on reserve will be returned to the faculty member at the end of each semester.
Photocopying and Duplication That Require Permission
- Repetitive Copying: The classroom or reserve use of photocopied materials in multiple courses or successive terms will normally require advance permission from the copyright owner;
- Copying for Profit: Faculty should not charge students more than the actual costs of photocopying the material;
- Consumable Works: The duplication of works that are consumed in the classroom, such as standardized tests, exercises, and workbooks, normally requires permission from the copyright owner;
- Creation of Anthologies as Basic Text Material for a Course: Creation of a collective work or anthology by photocopying 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 holders. Such photocopying is more likely to be considered as a substitute for purchase of a book and thus less likely to be deemed fair use.
Information on Fair Use can be found in “Northwest University’s ‘Fair Use’ Guidelines.”
Requesting Copyright Permission
When permission is needed to use photocopied materials the request must contain complete information to the copy owner. The American Association of Publishers suggest that the following information be included in a permission request letter in order to expedite the process:
- Title, author and/or editor, and edition of materials to be duplicated.
- Exact material to be used — giving amount; page numbers; chapters and, if possible, a photocopy of the material.
- Number of copies to be made.
- Use to be made of the duplicated materials.
- Form of distribution (classroom, newsletter, reserve reading, etc.).
- Whether or not the material is to be sold.
- Type of reprint (ditto, photocopy, offset, etc.).
The request should be sent, together with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, to the permission department of the publisher in question. The process of granting permission requires time. The publisher must check the status of the copyright and evaluate the nature of the request. It is advisable to allow a substantial lead-time to obtain permission prior to the beginning of the second term when the materials will be needed for reserve or other purpose.
For a sample letter see the Copyright Permission Request.