Copyright Guidelines for Reserves

The library asks instructors to consider the following guidelines when submitting course material for reserve.

The use of photocopies of periodical articles, book chapters, etc. is governed by U.S. Copyright Law. Sections 107 (Fair Use) and 108 (reproduction by libraries) provide some limit to the rights given to copyright holders. Section 107 provides that it is not copyright infringement of a work when it is used "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research…" In determining whether the use is fair, factors to consider "include" the following:

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

Saint Mary’s College Library follows fair use guidelines, where appropriate, when considering accepting photocopies for course reserves:

  1. When instructors do not otherwise have express permission from a copyright holder, we will place only a portion of a copyrighted work on reserve, limited to a single course and a single semester of use.
  2. Repetitious reserve use of a copyrighted work does not fall under fair-use guidelines and requires permission from the publisher/copyright holder. Even if the work is taken off reserve after its initial use, subsequent reserve use requires permission from the copyright holder.
  3. Periodical articles for which the Library has a license agreement for electronic access may be placed on reserve for the use of Saint Mary’s College students, unless specifically restricted by the periodical publisher. Electronic or paper copies of periodical articles from print journals in the SMC library's collection may be placed on reserve for a single semester without obtaining copyright permission.
  4. Copies of articles or book chapters shall not substitute for the purchase of the book, journal, or collective work.
  5. There will be no copying from "consumables," such as workbooks, test booklets, etc.

It is the responsibility of the instructor to ensure that materials placed on reserve are in compliance with copyright law. The Library allows instructors 8 weeks to obtain permission from the copyright holder. If, after 8 weeks, copyright permission has not been obtained, the materials will be taken off reserve and returned to the instructor.

Seeking Permission

Instructors are required to seek permission themselves for any reserve items that do not fall under fair-use guidelines or for material that will be used for subsequent semesters. Permission may be sought in a number of ways for the extended or repeated use of material:

  1. The Copyright Clearance Center offers extensive resources to help instructors contact copyright holders and pay for copyright permissions.  Visit their website for more information.
  2. If instructors know the publisher's information of a copyrighted item they can contact them directly using this sample letter.
  3. The U.S. Copyright Office has an online search engine that will help instructors locate the publisher of a work in question.
  4. Instructors can contact a Reference Librarian for additional help in locating a particular publisher's contact information.