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Northwest Missouri State University

Library Home » Articles & Guides » Copyright Permission

Copyright Permission

To be compliant with copyright laws when placing an item on reserve for more than a one-time spontaneous use, permission must first be obtained from the copyright holder. (Reprinting a journal article in a course pack or placing a scanned document on a restricted Web site are also subject to copyright law restrictions.) In the interest of consistency and efficiency, B.D. Owens Library staff will take responsibility for the initial attempt to secure copyright permission for Reserve items, at the library's expense, from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). CCC is an organization that provides a licensing system for the reproduction of copyrighted materials. If we are unable to acquire permission from CCC, the faculty member who requested the item for Reserve will be given the responsibility of obtaining permission to reproduce the article for Reserve use. If faculty wish to place a scanned document on a restricted Web site (i.e. eCollege) or in a course pack, the faculty member will be responsible for gaining copyright permission.

Research Uses: An instructor may make a single copy of any of the following for scholarly research or use in teaching or preparing to teach a class:

  • A chapter from a book
  • An article from a periodical or newspaper
  • A short story, short essay, or short poem
  • A chart, diagram, graph, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper

Classroom Uses
An instructor may distribute photocopied material to students in a class without the publisher’s prior permission, under the following conditions:

  • The distribution of the same photocopied material does not occur every semester;
  • Only one copy is distributed for each student, which must become the student’s property;
  • The material includes a copyright notice on the first page of the portion of material photocopied;
  • The students are not assessed any fee beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.

To guard against having a significant detrimental impact on the market for the copyrighted work, use of an item should be restricted to one course and excerpts should not be repeatedly photocopied from one author without the permission of the copyright owner.

Reserve Uses
Faculty may place photocopied works on reserve for the convenience of students in preparing class assignments. A limited number of copies per article will be placed on Reserve the first trimester that you use it (effective Fall 1992). However, for the same material to be placed on Reserve for any following trimesters, copyright permission must be obtained. If the Reserve Specialist is unable to acquire permission via the Copyright Clearance Center, you are responsible for obtaining permission and providing proof of permission to the Reserve Specialist before photocopies will be placed on Reserve.

Multiple copies may be placed on reserve within the following Fair Use guidelines:

  • The amount of material should be reasonable in relation to the total amount of material assigned for one term of a course. (In other words, not all of the course reading material should be reserve readings.) There is no exact allowable measure; quantity must be evaluated in each circumstance.
  • 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 materials (the maximum is 6 copies per article).
  • The material should contain a notice of copyright (we have a copyright stamp available).
  • 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.)

Photocopies may be put on reserve “spontaneously.”
This means that:

  • The copying is done at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher; and
  • The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its utility is so close that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

To use photocopies for successive years, permission must be obtained from the owner of the copyright. Please see the Fair Use Questionnaire to help determine if use of a copyrighted source falls under educational fair use guidelines.

How to Request Copyright Permission
The following are tips for recognizing copyrighted material and obtaining copyright permission:

  • Fair Use Questionnaire to help you determine whether use of a copyrighted source falls under educational fair use guidelines as defined by Section 107 of the Copyright Law of the United States of America
  • Addresses for publishers of journals can be located in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory
  • A sample letter for gaining copyright permission is in a Microsoft Word document (Note: After opening the document, click on File, Save As and modify for individual use)
  • Annotated hyperlinks to Web sites regarding copyrighted materials and educational fair use issues
  • A selected listing of current Copyright Materials in Owens Library at Northwest Missouri State University

eCollege posting or placing photocopies of student work on Reserve
Both of these scenarios may take place provided student permission is signed and attached to the document. Simply removing the student identification from a work does not provide permission to copy.
Sample student project release

B.D. Owens Library Reserve Specialist
Sharon Samson

For further information,
Questions and Answers on Copyright for the Campus Community, on Reserve under the call number: 346.73048 Q5q 2002
Northwest and Copyright

American Library Association Fair Use Interpretation:

Adapted from: “Guidelines for Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials,” Eric Document ED238384, Washington, D.C.: 1983.

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