Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Guide to copyright for A&T communities

Document Delivery Policies

  • Copyright. Current copyright law and guidelines place restrictions on both personal as well as institutional photocopying of materials protected by copyright. You may be required to sign (on a print article form) a copyright statement regarding the use of the copied material.

Fair Use and Reserves

The policy governing Reserves is based on the fair use provisions of the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Section 107 of the Copyright Act expressly permits the making of multiple copies for classroom use:

  • Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106a, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining fair use, four factors are considered:

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

 Materials that do not require copyright permission include:

  • Exams, syllabi, and lecture notes of the instructor who is placing the material on Reserve, most federal government publications, a single journal article or book chapter used for one semester, works of art used for one semester, or material for which the instructor owns copyright.

Materials that require copyright permission include:

  • A journal article or book chapter intended for use for more than one semester.
  • Multiple chapters from a single book or multiple articles from a single journal issue.
  • Artwork intended for use for more than one semester.

Fair Use in the Archives

The Fair Use Doctrine provides for the citing of copyrighted materials, including use of archival materials, without necessarily seeking permission.  Central to Fair Use is the use of copyright protected materials in:

  • Criticism
  • Commentary
  • Newsreporting
  • Parody
  • Otherwise "transformative" use

When using archival materials, "transformative" use often applies due to the processs of drawing upon, quoting, and citing letters, memoranda, reports, and other documents in research papers.  In such cases, you are fairly using original and primary sources.