Electronic Reserves (e-Reserves) Copyright Guidelines

Electronic Reserves (e-Reserves) will be made available at the request of a faculty and must comply with Section 107 of the Copyright Act on Fair Use.

Instructors are responsible for fair use of copyrighted reserves materials and/or ensuring that they have appropriate copyright permissions. For complete information on Copyright visit the U.S. Copyright Office website or the University of Texas Libraries' very thorough Copyright Crash Course. Need to obtain permission to use a work? See this very helpful website from Boise State University's General Counsel.


  • In general, copyright restrictions for educational use do not apply on works that fall under the definition of "public domain" such as: 1) unpublished works; 2) published works with expired copyright, such as publications more than 75 years old; and 3) U.S. Government publications.
  • The Library will not accept anthologies of readings prepared by an instructor for e-Reserve use, unless there is a proof of Copyright permission. Other materials not accepted for e-Reserve use include consumable workbooks which students would normally be expected to purchase or journal articles which have been included in a course pack that students are expected to purchase.
  • Longer works, such as complete books, will not be scanned for e-Reserves. It is advisable that the amount of material used be limited to items such as single articles or chapters of books; a short story, short essay, or short poem; charts, graphs, and illustrations, or other similar small parts of a work. However, please note: not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one term.
  • Copied materials placed on e-Reserve must be owned by the faculty submitting them or by the library. If an original is not owned by the instructor or the library, the instructor is responsible for obtaining copyright permission.
  • Access to e-Reserves will be limited to COCC students, faculty and staff. There will be no subject access to the reserves system.
  • At the end of each term, each e-Reserve file will be deleted, unless it does not fall under copyright restrictions.
  • The first use of a copied material by a particular instructor for a particular course is generally treated as "fair use." Any subsequent use of this same material by that same instructor for that same course requires permission from the copyright holder.
  • Because copyright royalty fees can be quite expensive for book chapters on e-Reserves, the library strongly suggests that faculty place the whole books on regular reserves instead of making parts of them available electronically.
  • Student work from current or past terms is protected under federal law, FERPA (Family Educational Right to Privacy Act), and college policy. Instructors who place on reserve originals or copies of student work, including video or audio cassettes of student performances, with personally identifying material on them (e.g.; names, grades, images), must secure a written permission from that student. If the name, grade, or image appears on the work, instructors should document that the student has been made aware of this before he/she signed the permission statement. Removing names or other identifiers from student work does not relieve the instructor from copyright responsibility: instructors should always obtain the student's permission.
  • Full citations and attributions to the original source must be included for all electronic files. In addition, for copyrighted material, the following copyright warning will appear on each e-Reserve document:


    The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproduction of copyrighted material.

    Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research. If electronic transmission of reserve material is used for purposes in excess of what constitutes "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.