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Electronic Reserve Copyright Guidelines - Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, US Code) governs 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.

Because the library is considered an extension of the classroom, access to reserve materials is limited to course and instructor's name. When faculty submit items to Reserve/EReserve, they should provide the author's name, title of the work, and copyright statement, if there is one. Reserve materials are available only for the semester in which the class is taught. Any uses beyond the first semester require copyright permission. Reserve Department staff will apply for such permission.

Instructors should not place materials on reserve unless the instructor, the library, or another unit of the university possesses a lawfully obtained copy. The total amount of material on reserve for a class should be a small proportion of the total assigned reading for that class when invoking fair use. Materials are available only to the University of Vermont community and all are expected to adhere to these copyright and fair use guidelines.

New, and as yet uncodified, interpretations of the copyright law apply to libraries' electronic reserve systems that provide access to online class materials. Therefore, University Libraries Copyright Guidelines apply alike to materials provided through the Bailey/Howe Library Reserve Desk and to materials available through Electronic Reserve.

The guidelines described below apply to all Bailey/Howe Library Reserves and are in compliance with US Code, Title 17 and UVM Copyright Policy V.2.12.1. Material submitted which violates any of these regulations will NOT knowingly be made available by the library. Instructors will be notified upon discovery of copyright violations and will result in delayed access to class materials through University Libraries.

Copyright Guidelines Summary


One chapter (or 10%) from a book may be placed on reserve unless the instructor received the copyright holder's written permission and acknowledged receipt when submitting materials to reserve.  This applies to edited collections of readings and essays, because each reading is considered a chapter.

Journals and Newspapers

Only one article of the content of an issue of one journal may be placed on reserve unless the instructor received the copyright holder's written permission and acknowledged receipt when submitting materials to reserve. Newspapers are treated the same as journals.

Multiple Copies

For the academic year, only two copies of photocopied material is allowed for every 25 students enrolled in a class, or any fraction thereof, but no more than 5 copies per class. The photocopy should contain the copyright statement.

US Government Publications

Most government publications are in the public domain, i.e., they are not copyrighted, allowing unlimited use and reproduction.

Course Packs

Up to 2 copies of an authorized course pack (produced by Print & and Mail Center) may be placed on reserve. The course pack must be for the current semester only and produced under the guidelines of current copyright law. Course packs from previous semesters will not be placed on reserve unless copyright permission has been extended. Course packs will NOT be scanned for electronic reserve. For more information on course packs and course pack copyright guidelines, please contact Print & and Mail Center, x62960.

Copyright Acknowledgements

Everyone submitting materials to the UVM Bailey/Howe Library Reserve Department must agree to the two following statements. If an instructor 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 and UVM Copyright Policy V.2.12.1).

  1. I acknowledge having read the UVM Bailey/Howe Library Reserve Copyright Guidelines and agree that the materials I submit to the UVM Bailey/Howe Library Reserve Department 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 any UVM Bailey/Howe Library Reserve Department.

Fair Use Guidelines

Copyright law recognizes that certain uses of copyrighted materials are deemed lawful even without permission from the copyright owner. The U.S. Copyright Act provides that “the fair use of a copyrighted work . . . for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”

Unfortunately, there are no bright line tests or reliable rules for determining whether or not a particular use of another’s copyrighted materials is a fair use, even if it is for scholarship or research purposes. The determination is highly fact specific, and therefore must be made on a case-by-case basis. Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act provides four non-exclusive factors that should be considered when determining if a given use of a copyrighted work is fair:

1) The 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;
4) The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

All four factors above are considered when determining if a particular use is fair, but copyright law does not specifically limit an analysis to these four factors. Other factors can be considered, depending on the particular use. A court’s determination that a use of a copyrighted work under one set of circumstances is fair or not does not automatically mean that a similar use under a different set of circumstances would result in the same conclusion.

If the University does not have a license covering the proposed use, and after completing the fair use analysis, you believe that your proposed use is unlikely to be a fair use, it still might fall under the other statutory exemptions discussed below such as the face-to-face teaching exemption or the TEACH Act. If no exemptions apply, permission must be obtained from the copyright owner before using the work.

Comments? Questions? Concerns? Contact Reserve Department, Bailey/Howe Library, x62023.

last rev. 03/17

Bailey / Howe Library

538 Main Street · Burlington VT, 05405-0036

ph: 802.656.2023 · fax: 802.656.4038

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