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Copyright: Compliance Guidelines for Faculty

Placing Materials on Reserve

Jessie Ball duPont Library honors requests from faculty to place course related items on reserve that are in compliance with US Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107) and the fair use guidelines.

Faculty can notify the library about books,articles, or media to place on reserve or for course packs via the Reserve and Course Pack Request Form or items may be submitted at the library service desk.

As a safeguard against copyright infringement the library has taken the following measures:

Print Reserves

  • Materials are kept behind the service desk and are only available for use in the library.
  • For journal articles or book chapters the full citation is available on the front page.
  • All copies are removed at the end of the semester and either returned to faculty or discarded.

Electronic Reserves

  • Files are stored on the library’s Blackboard server.
  • Materials placed on e-reserves for Blackboard are kept for one semester.

Copying Computer Software

Computer software is tangible material and can be copyrighted. The Doctrine of Fair Use applies to computer software.

Permissible uses of copyrighted software owned by or licensed to the University or its faculty:

  • Copying it by using it in a computer's memory.
  • Making one backup or archival copy.
  • Making adaptations in order to use a particular machine.
  • Lending it.

Prohibited uses of copyrighted software:

  • Making copies for gift or sale.
  • Copying a computer program purchased for use at the University in order to use it at home.
  • Copying a computer program purchased for use in one department or school for use in another department or school. A site license should be negotiated to allow multiple uses on campus.

Copying for Classroom Use

Copying of copyrighted materials for student learning and research use without written permission may occur in the following instances:

Single copying for teachers

Single copies may be made of any of the following by or for teachers at their individual request for scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  • One chapter from a book;
  • An article from a periodical, journal, or newspaper;
  • A short story, short essay, or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book,periodical, or newspaper.

Multiple copies for student learning use

Multiple copies (not to exceed more than one copy per student in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for student learning use or discussion; provided that the following three criteria are met:

  • The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity (as defined below).
  • The copying meets the cumulative effect test (as defined below).
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright. An example is "this material may be protected by Copyright law (title 17, US Code)."


Brevity: Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, (usually varies 3-8 pages depending on size of page and type) or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work, whichever is greater.

Spontaneity: The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and the inspiration and decision to use the work.The moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative effect: Copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.

Obtaining Permission

Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and web sites. The Library can assist with obtaining permission for works when they are used in ways that infringe on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder (i.e. outside the boundaries of fair use).

At the University of the South, the Circulation Department in the Library serves as our Copyright Clearance Office.  We use a variety of methods to obtain copyright permission and require ample time to process these requests. You can use the Reserve and Course Pack Request Form to submit your requests for copyright clearance for Library Reserves, Electronic Reserves through Blackboard, or printed Course Packs which are sold through the Bookstore.

If you have questions about this process, please send an email to or contact Courtnay Zeitler, Head of Access Services, at 598-1837.


Jessie Ball duPont Library, University of the South
178 Georgia Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37383