Copyright Policy for Course Reserves
Faculty are responsible for complying with copyright law for their reserve materials. Items that fall under fair use as well as those that are not covered by copyright, as explained below, may be placed on reserve without obtaining copyright permission or paying copyright royalties. The libraries will not place any items on either print or electronic reserve that it knows are not in compliance with copyright law.
The collections of the Oberlin College Libraries are purchased for the nonprofit educational use of students and faculty. All library materials are acquired with the understanding that there will be multiple uses of a limited number of puchased copies. Libraries frequently pay a premium institutional subscription price for journals that is many times the individual subscription price for the purpose of supporting multiple academic users.
The United States Copyright Act of 1976 (§107) expressly permits the making of multiple copies for classroom use. Such classroom copying is one of the specific examples of uses that do not require the payment of a royalty or the permission of the copyright owners provided that the circumstances of the use are fair as assessed by four factors:
- The purpose or character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- The nature of the copyrighted work;
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Oberlin College Libraries reserves services are used solely for non-profit educational purposes. Copies may be made for reserve without securing copyright permission if the copying is related directly to the educational objectives of a specific course and if the copyrighted material is limited to brief works, or brief excerpts from longer works. Examples include a single chapter from a book, a single article from a journal, or unrelated news articles.
Public Domain Materials
Many materials, such as government documents and older publications, are in the public domain and not protected by copyright. Items in both of these categories may be photocopied for reserve without permission. Refer to Digital Copyright Slider (by the American Library Association) for details regarding older publications.
When are Permissions or Fees Required?
Faculty must obtain permission or pay appropriate royalty fees in order to place the following types of materials on either print reserve or Blackboard:
- Originals, photocopies, or digitized copies of standardized tests, exercises, or workbooks.
- Photocopies or digitized copies of an entire book or musical score, or substantial portions of a book or score.
General Guidelines for Classroom Use of Print and Electronic Reproductions
- All materials placed on print reserve or made available electronically on Blackboard will be at the initiative of faculty for the non-commercial, educational usage of students.
- All copies, whether in print or digitized form, must include a notice of copyright: i.e.: © year of first publication (if known), name of copyright holder (if known), and a full bibliographic reference (author, title, journal title or book publisher, and date). Materials submitted for reserve without a full citation may be returned to the faculty member for the addition of the required information.
- Whenever possible, materials will be purchased or licensed by the library.
- The library will not place materials on reserve without permission if the nature, scope, or extent of copying is judged by the library to exceed the reasonable limits of fair use. Faculty must obtain permission or pay appropriate royalties in order to place copies of longer works (or substantial portions of longer works), such as complete books and performance scores.
- Access to Blackboard resources is limited to students officially enrolled in the course.
- Users may make one copy for private study, personal reading, research, scholarship, or education.
Oberlin College will monitor legal developments which may affect the fair use analysis of electronic reserve services to ensure that library services are in compliance with the letter and spirit of the United States Copyright Law.
Further information on the copyright law as it pertains to fair use, seeking permissions, and the placement of items on reserve is available in the Main Reserve Room or from the Art, Science, and Conservatory reserve staff. Please contact the main reserve supervisor at 775-5036 or by contact form if you have any further questions.