Photocopying: Copyright Considerations

The 1978 Copyright Law permits limited reproduction of copyrighted material for classroom use, according to “Fair Use Guidelines.” The concept of “Fair Use” is open to interpretation – by a court of law. If there is any doubt whether a particular use of copied materials meets “Fair Use” criteria, consult a librarian. The library can also provide information on how to go about obtaining copyright permission.

I. Rules Governing “Fair Use” Photocopying for Education Purposes Have Evolved Since 1978:

Single Copies may be made by faculty and staff, of a book chapter; an article from a periodical or newspaper; a short story, essay, or poem; or charts, graphs, cartoons, or pictures. Entire works may be reproduced if they are out of print and “unobtainable at a fair price.”

Multiple copies may be made by faculty or staff of the following:

  • One chart, graph, picture or cartoon per book or periodical issue;
  • Prose excerpts of a work, up to 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less;
  • Complete articles, stories, or essays, if they are under 2,500 words;
  • Mixed illustrations and words, up to 10% of the original work; and
  • Complete or excerpted poems, not exceeding 250 words on two pages.
  • Limitations of multiple copying;
    1. There can be no more than 19 instances of multiple copying per course;
    2. The copies of a work are made for one course only, and the number of copies cannot exceed the number of students in the course;
    3. No more than one work of an author can be copied;
    4. No more than three works can be copied from a single anthology or collective work;
    5. Copying cannot be done to create or replace or substitute for existing anthologies or collective works;
    6. Copying the same item cannot be repeated from term to term;
    7. Copies cannot be sold except at cost; and
    8. “Consumable” works, e.g., workbook pages, standardized tests, etc., may not be reproduced under any circumstances.

Copyright Notices must be included in the reproduction of any work that is copied. These notices should read: Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).