Print Reserves Copyright Guidelines

At the request of faculty, photocopies of articles or book chapters may be placed on reserve in compliance 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.

Faculty members who are unsure about what constitutes permissible copying, may consult the Guidelines for Classroom Copying of Books and Periodicals agreed to by the Association of American Publishers and The Author's League of America and explained here by the University of Texas Libraries. These guidelines set minimum standards for meeting the copyright law requirements.


  • There are no copyright restrictions for the use of whole books owned by the Library or the instructor. Copyright law applies only to those parts of a book that are reproduced (copied) for class use.
  • 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restrictions for educational use do not apply on works that fall under the definition of "public domain" such as: 1) unpublished works; 2) published works with expired copyright, such as publications more than 75 years old; and 3) U.S. Government publications.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 accept up to two copies of a COCC bookstore-prepared course pack for Print Reserves but will not accept anthologies of readings prepared by the instructor him/herself, unless there is proof of Copyright permission. Other materials not accepted for Print Reserves include photocopies of consumable materials (workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, etc.) or journal articles which have been included in a coursepack that students are expected to purchase.
  • It is advisable that the amount of material copied 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. 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.
  • The number of copies of a single item placed on Print Reserves should be reasonable in light of the number of students enrolled and the difficulty or timing of the assignment. In general, the library advises one copy for every 10-15 students, up to a limit of 3 copies.
  • Copied materials placed on Print 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. Items borrowed through Summit or Interlibrary Loan (ILL) cannot be placed on print reserves.
  • Copyrighted Print Reserves material should contain a copyright notice along with a full citation and attributions to the original source.
  • Copies of reserve materials are considered to be the instructor's property and are returned at the end of each term.
  • 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.
  • 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.