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Policy no. 8 - Copyright Compliance

Date of last revision: 20 March 2006

  1. Introduction

    The Angelo State University Library follows and enforces the copyright laws of the United States and the copyright policy of the University (see Faculty-Staff Handbook, Section III, “Guidelines for Instructional, Research, and Library Use of Copyrighted Materials”) and the Texas State University System (see Rules and Regulations, Section III, “Copyright Policy”).
  2. Course Reserves: Print and Electronic (1)
    The copyright laws of the United States (Title 17, US Code) govern the making of reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions, libraries are authorized to furnish a reproduction, but one of the specified conditions is that the reproduction will not be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.

    When faculty members submit someone else’s work to Course Reserves, they should preserve the author’s name, title of the work, and copyright statement(2) if there is one. Faculty members may not request that Course Reserves provide access to copies of the same material for more than one term unless they have received the copyright holder’s written permission. Availability for one term usually gives the faculty member enough time to request permission from the copyright holder.

    Faculty members should not place copies of materials on Course Reserves unless the faculty member, the Library, or another unit of the University possesses a lawfully obtained copy. When invoking fair use(3), the total amount of material on Course Reserves for a class should be a small proportion of the total assigned reading for that class. Materials are available only to the Angelo State University community and all are expected to adhere to these copyright and fair use guidelines.

    The guidelines described below apply to all copies of materials in Course Reserves and are in compliance with US Code, Title 17. Submitted materials which violate any of these regulations will NOT knowingly be made available by the Library. Faculty members will be notified upon discovery of copyright violations; and this will result in their students having delayed access to Course Reserve materials through the Library.

    1. Copyright Guidelines Summary
      1. Books: Only one chapter from a book may be placed on Course Reserves unless the faculty member received the copyright holder’s written permission and acknowledged the receipt when submitting materials to Course Reserves. This applies to edited collections of readings and essays because each reading is considered a chapter.
      2. Periodicals and Newspapers: Only one article from an issue of one periodical may be placed on Course Reserves unless the faculty member received the copyright holder’s written permission and acknowledged the receipt when submitting materials to Course Reserves. Newspapers are treated the same as periodicals.
      3. Multiple Copies: Only one copy of photocopied material is allowed for every 20 students enrolled in a class, or any fraction thereof, but no more than nine copies per class. Each photocopy should contain the copyright statement.
      4. Consumables: These materials are not appropriate for Course Reserves use because one of the tenets of fair use is that such use not affect the market value. Consumables include but are not limited to workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets, and answer sheets.
      5. Course Packs: Custom published anthologies may be prepared for sale through the ASU Bookstore. A faculty member wishing to create a course pack will need to make arrangements through the ASU Bookstore. Course packs are not appropriate for Course Reserves.
      6. Media Items: For electronic and multimedia materials, copyright law and fair use guidelines are unclear. As expected, challenges to the copyright law are being debated. When requests fall outside of the “fair use” guidelines, legal permission to use copyrighted materials must be obtained.
  3. Copyright Acknowledgements

    Everyone submitting materials to Course Reserves must agree to the three following guidelines. If a faculty member cannot abide by these guidelines, the Library cannot provide access to the course materials without violating the US copyright law (US Code, Title 17) as it pertains to libraries. (For further information, please refer to the US Code Title 17 sect. 108.)

    1. “I acknowledge having read the Porter Henderson Library’s policies (PPM No. 4 and No. 8) pertaining to Course Reserves and agree that the materials I submit to Course Reserves are in compliance with this interpretation of US copyright law.”
    2. “When required, I received written permission from the copyright holder to provide access to the materials I am submitting to Course Reserves.”
    3. The proper copyright statement must appear on all materials submitted to Course Reserves.
  4. Electronic Reserves(4)

    In addition to the requirements above, the Library will provide the following services in relation to E-Reserves.

    1. Digitize and make available, at the request of the faculty member, copyright protected material within Fair Use guidelines, including an accompanying copyright statement, the copyright notice on the original, and appropriate citations and attributions to the source.
    2. Limit access to ASU students for the materials in the course(s) in which they are currently enrolled, ASU faculty members for the materials in the course(s) they are currently teaching, and ASU Library’s staff members involved with E-Reserves processing and support.
    3. At the end of each semester, remove E-Reserve materials pertaining to courses taught that semester.
    4. Require the faculty member to obtain permission from the copyright holder(s) when the digitization and provision of access to copyright protected materials is not within Fair Use guidelines
    5. Follow any restrictions of the copyright holder(s) as specified by the terms of the permission.
  5. Interlibrary Loan

    To comply with U.S. copyright law and CONTU guidelines, each year PHL’s ILL service may order only five articles from any one periodical title published in the previous five years. No more than one article may be ordered per person from a single periodical issue published in the previous five years. When these limits are surpassed, the requestor must pay a copyright clearance fee for the needed articles.
  6. Government Documents

    1. U.S. Documents

      Copyright of U.S. Government works is covered under 17 U.S.C § 105: “Copyright protection … is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.” A contractor working for a government agency may apply for permission to assert copyright. If an agency grants permission, then the contractor’s work may receive copyright protection.

      A government agency is not required to provide notice when there is no U.S. copyright on its works. An agency will often place a simple notice similar to this example. “This is a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Foreign copyrights may apply.” If such a notice appears in a government document, the document may be copied in its entirety without violating copyright.
    2. Texas Government Documents

      17 U.S.C § 105 does not apply to works of state and local governments. These entities may and often do claim copyright for their publications.
  7. Fair Use Guidelines(5)

    All users of the Library must follow the provisions of fair use; that is, the user may make one copy (e.g., download or print) for personal reading, research, or education. Any other use without permission from the copyright holder is illegal. The user must not use any of these documents to mislead others about the views or competence of the author, nor as part of a commercial product. Any copy that is made should preserve the author’s name, the title of the document, and a statement of copyright, if there is one. Making multiple copies for republication would violate the spirit of the agreement under which the authors and the Library provide users with access to materials.


Libraries, like individuals, have rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 107 (“Section 107”) to make fair use of copyrighted works.(7) They most commonly exercise these rights in the Library.

Teachers often make reading assignments that all their students cannot complete given normal loan periods. Placing the reading materials on Course Reserves gives each student time limited access, but sometimes even severe restrictions on the loan period will not guarantee full access. The students need more copies. Faculty members must provide their own copies.

Since the Library is an extension of the classroom, its copying activities must conform with fair use principles. This is not an easy task because fair use is hard to understand and apply. For example, Section 107 explicitly cites the practice of making multiple copies for classroom use, but the provision also requires the user to consider at least the four factors that are set out in the statute before deciding whether a use is fair:

  1. [T]he purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Still at one time universities thought they knew what fair use was. Recently, however, these commonly held beliefs have been challenged by several lawsuits over the scope of fair use. These lawsuits raise serious concerns. Universities and libraries cannot infringe the rights of copyright owners, but if they don’t defend a reasonable interpretation of their legal rights as users of others works, they may see these rights eroded.


 1. For additional information on Course Reserves policies, please see PPM No. 4, “Circulation.”

 2. In addition to the title of the work, the copyright statement usually consists of the copyright symbol, year of first publication, and the name of the owner of the copyright. An example would be “© 2006 Mary Jones.”

 3. For additional information on fair use, please Section V and the Appendix.

 4. The Library will follow these guidelines when this service is available for use on campus.

 5. See the “Appendix on Fair Use” for a discussion of “Fair Use” taken from the University of Texas System guidelines for “Fair Use: Reserve Room Operations, Generally” website.

 7. 17 U.S.C. Section 108 (f)(4) (“Section 108” generally), which protects certain library reprographic and distribution activities, explicitly preserves any rights libraries may have under Section 107. Fair use rights may be different from and/or more extensive than rights under Section 108.