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Library & Copyright

Library & copyright

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Library Reserve Uses

There are no specific statutory provisions governing the making of copies to be placed on library reserve. Nor are there any agreed and published guidelines covering this use of copyrighted works. The American Library Association has published unilateral guidelines, called the “Model Policy Concerning College and University Photocopying for Classroom, Research and Library Reserve Use” (March 1982). However, these guidelines have been criticized, and, since the issue has not been decided in court, the legality of copying for library reserve use is subject to uncertainty.

At the request of a faculty member, a library may photocopy and place on reserve excerpts from copyrighted works in its collection in accordance with guidelines similar to those governing formal classroom distribution for face-to-face teaching. Washington State University believes these guidelines apply to the library reserve shelf to the extent that it functions as an extension of classroom readings or reflects an individual student’s right to photocopy for his/her personal scholastic use under the doctrine of fair use. In general, librarians may photocopy materials for reserve room 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 request calls 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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. The material should contain any notice of copyright;
  4. 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 professor may place on reserve as a supplement to the course textbook a reasonable number of copies of articles from academic journals or chapters from trade books. WSU Libraries will accept up to one copy of each reserve item per ten (10) students, but not more than ten (10) copies total.

In addition, a faculty member may also request multiple copies of photocopied, copyrighted material be placed in the reserve room 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 Time magazine or the New York Times, in lieu of distributing a copy to each member of the class. If in doubt as to whether a particular instance of photocopying is fair use in the reserve room, faculty should seek the publisher’s permission. Most publishers will be cooperative and will waive any fee for such a use.

Copies made under this provision may be used only for the semester in which they were placed on reserve. Any further use of the copies requires the permission of the copyright owner.

All faculty are encouraged to read Faculty Information Leaflet #3: General Interpretations and Information Regarding Copyright and Photocopied Reserve Materials, available in the libraries. Additionally, the actual reserve request form should be carefully read and completely filled out by the faculty member requesting reserve services. If the copyright information section is incomplete or unsigned, the request cannot be processed.


Library Photocopying

Like other users of copyrighted works, libraries have the benefit of the “fair use” doctrine. However, since they deal with copyrighted works routinely and systematically, libraries’ activities are less likely to qualify as “fair use” than those of individual professors and students. A special statutory provision—www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/108.html—covers use of copyrighted works by libraries, and this section is based largely on it.

The copyright law permits libraries and archives to, without permission, make single copies for patrons, and multiple copies for patrons when certain conditions are met, i.e.:

  1. All copies must be made without direct or indirect commercial advantage;
  2. The collections of the library or archives must be open to the public. In the case of limited-access research libraries, the collection must be open to qualified researchers regardless of their occupations or professional affiliation;
  3. All photocopies must display a copyright warning notice on the first page of the photocopy;
  4. All copies must become the property of the patron;
  5. The library or archives must not be aware that a copy made for a patron will be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research; and
  6. The library or archives must display a copyright warning notice at the place where it accepts orders for copies, and on its interlibrary loan request forms. The Display Warning of Copyright should be printed on heavy paper or other durable material in type at least 18 points in size, and should be displayed prominently in such manner and location as to be clearly visible, legible, and comprehensible to a casual observer within the immediate vicinity of the place where orders are accepted. The Order Warning of Copyright should be printed within a box located prominently on the order form itself, either on the front side of the form or immediately adjacent to the space calling for the name or signature of the person using the form. The notice should be printed in type size no smaller than that used predominantly throughout the form, and in no case shall the type size be smaller than 8 points. The notice should be printed in such manner as to be clearly legible, comprehensible, and readily apparent to a casual reader of the form. 37 C.F.R. 201.14

If the library meets the above conditions, they may copy for users a single journal article or small part of a book and/or an entire copyrighted work, or a substantial part of it, if the library has determined, after a reasonable investigation, that a new or used copy cannot be obtained at a fair price. This provision does not extend to musical, pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works except for illustrations appearing in a book or periodical which may be copied as a part of the article or section being copied. Fair use permits copying some of these works by a library or archives if the user requests the copy for legitimate scholarship, research, or teaching purposes.


Interlibrary Loans

Libraries may make copies of materials for sharing with other libraries through interlibrary loan. Interlibrary loan copying is governed by guidelines developed by the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyright Works (CONTU). The complete text can be found here. Each year, for any periodical title, a library may request no more than five copies of articles which were published during the most recent five years the title.

  1. A library may request no more than five copies of articles from a periodical volume (not an issue) per year. However, this limitation does not apply to articles published five or more years before the date of the request.
  2. A library or archives may request no more than five excerpts from a book or pamphlet while it is subject to copyright protection.
  3. The above limitations do not apply if: the library has ordered a subscription to the periodical; the library owns the work but the copy is lost, stolen, or otherwise unavailable when the reproduction is requested; or the library has ordered the title but it has not arrived. The requesting library must maintain records of filled orders which must be kept for three years after the end of the calendar year.

The requesting library is responsible for compliance with copyright law. The responding library is only responsible for asking whether the requester has so complied.

a. Requesting a copy of an entire book

The requesting library must comply with Sections 108(e) and (g) of Title 17 United States Code:

  • Determine that a copy cannot be obtained at a fair price;
  • The copy must become the property of the patron;
  • The library should have no notice that the copy will be used for a purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research;
  • The library should have both a display and order form “Warning of Copyright“;
  • The library must not be aware or have substantial reason to believe it is engaging in related or concerted reproduction or distribution of multiple copies of the same material;
  • Since the CONTU Guidelines do not apply to Section 108(e) materials, the library must make its request with a representation that it has complied with copyright law.

b. Requesting a copy of an entire journal issue

As the requesting party, the library must comply with Sections 108(e) & (g) and the CONTU guidelines:

  • Determine that a copy cannot be obtained at a fair price;
  • The copy must become the property of the patron;
  • The library should have no notice that the copy will be used for a purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research;
  • The library should have both a display and order form “Warning of Copyright“;
  • The library must not be aware or have substantial reason to believe it is engaging in related or concerted reproduction or distribution of multiple copies of the same material;
  • Since the CONTU Guidelines apply to periodicals, the library must make its request with a representation that it has complied with copyright law and the Guidelines;
  • The library will pay royalties on any copy that exceeds the “rule of five”;
  • The library will maintain its records of the request for three years.

c. Requesting a copy of an article from a journal issue or a small part of another work.

As requesting party, the library must comply with Sections 108(d) & (g) and the CONTU Guidelines:

  • The copy must become the property of the parton;
  • The library should have no notice that the copy will be used for a purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research;
  • The library should have both a display and order form “Warning of Copyright“;
  • The library must not be aware or have substantial reason to believe it is engaging in related or concerted reproduction or distribution of multiple copies of the same material;
  • Since the CONTU Guidelines apply to periodicals and small parts of other works, the library must make its request with a representation that it has complied with copyright law and the Guidelines:
  • The library will pay royalties on any copy of a periodical article that exceeds the “rule of five”;
  • The library will maintain its records of the request for three years.
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