Copyright Law

Library Reserves

Faculty are permitted to place books and photocopied articles on reserve for their courses if they follow the guidelines listed below.

Copyright Law - Reserve Guidelines

  • One copy of any personal copyrighted book, photocopied copyrighted article, or copyrighted DVD or Video may be placed on reserve for the time period of one semester. This falls within the guidelines of Fair Use.
  • Only original versions of DVDs and Videos may be placed on reserve. No unauthorized copies may be placed on reserve.
  • According to 17 U.S.C. Section 107 [4], materials cannot be placed on reserve repeatedly because it has a significant detrimental impact on the market for the copyrighted material. After one semester, personal copyrighted books, as well as all articles, CDs, videos, and cassettes must be removed from reserve, and they cannot be placed back on reserve for the following semester. The only way that copyrighted material may be placed on reserve for more than one semester, is if the faculty member receives permission from the person who has copyright of the material. The permission should be in writing, and a copy should be on file at the library.
  • A faculty member may not place more than one copy of a copyrighted article on reserve unless it meets the following requirements:
    • The amount of material should be reasonable in relation to the total amount of material used in the class.
    • The number of copies should be reasonable in relation to the number of students in the class. An estimate is 1 copy per 10-15 students.
    • The material should contain a notice of copyright.
    • The library should own at least one copy of the material placed on reserve.
    • Timeliness should be a factor in the need for multiple copies.
    • No more than five copies of any article should ever be placed on reserve.


If you have any questions about these guidelines, please speak to a Reference Librarian or the Director of the Library.

All information is based on: copyright Law, Title 17, U.S. Code.

The Copyright Primer for Librarians and Educators by Janis Bruwelheide, American Library Association and National Education Association, 1995