Copyright & Fair Use Policy

Fair Use

Reproduction of copyrighted materials for the purposes of scholarship, research and teaching is legally deemed to be Fair Use of published materials. However, the Fair Use provisions in Section 107, Title 17 of the United States Code (Copyright Act) outlines specific provisions pertaining to purpose, nature, substantiality and market effect of reproducing copyright materials. These provisions must be observed.


Himmelfarb Library's reserve policy reflects the Fair Use provisions of the Copyright Act. When making the determination of whether use of a particular work constitutes fair use, the following four factors from Section 107 of the Copyright Act will be used:

  • The purpose and 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.

The Classroom Guidelines (1976) contained in Section 107, H.R. 94-1476, provide additional guidelines regarding "Multiple Copies for Classroom Use", to be followed when placing materials on reserve:

  • Brevity - A complete article of 2,500 words or less, or excerpts of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the total work.
  • Spontaneity - The copying is done at the instance and inspiration of the teacher, and, the timing between the decision to use the work for a course, and its actual use, is too short to allow for permission to be granted.
  • Cumulative Effect - The materials are used for only 1 course in the school. No more than 3 articles, essays, or 2 excerpts may be copied from the same author; no more than 3 articles or excerpts from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.

E-Reserve Materials - must meet the same criteria as print materials. Additionally, according to CONFU guidelines, followed by Himmelfarb Library:

  • E-reserve systems must be designed so that only students enrolled in the course have access to the materials. Students cannot be charged for this access.
  • Materials from the previous semester can be retained for a short time period, while permission is being obtained for its use in the current semester.
  • Access to materials can be provided for a short time period after the end of each semester, for students who have not yet completed the course.