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Teaching Support

Item type

Accepted? Notes:
Books Yes Both personal copies and JKM-owned allowed.
Photocopies of journal articles, book chapters, etc. Yes Must comply with Fair Use guidelines -- see guidelines below.
Commercially-produced video/audio recordings Yes Commercially-produced recordings are accepted, as are those owned by JKM Library.
Privately-produced video/audio recordings See notes May be placed on reserve ONCE and once only.
Copies of student papers and tutorials Yes Must have written permission of the student author included with each item.
Faculty-created course documents Yes Includes old class exams, homework problems and solutions, syllabi, and similar documents.
Consumables No Workbooks, copies of standardized tests, course packs, and other single-use items.
Items borrowed from other libraries No This includes ILLiad and EZBorrow books, as well as books from the public library.
Items rented from commercial establishments No Includes items such as movies rented from RedBox or books rented from Chegg.

Course Reserve Copyright Compliance Policy

There are limits to the type and quantity of materials which may be placed on Course Reserve. The following guidelines are offered by JKM Library in order to comply with copyright, but please note: these are only guidelines! Copyright law is extremely complex, and it is difficult to give any absolutes. These guidelines are pending approval by University legal counsel. These guidelines exist because the JKM Library endeavors to abide by the legal requirements of copyright law, as well as to maintain the principles of academic integrity. 


  • Each item placed on reserve should include the full bibliographic citation. Materials lacking such information may be delayed in processing.
  • Students must not be assessed any charges for use of reserve materials beyond their own photocopying costs and late fines or replacement fees.
  • Individual instructors are responsible for copyright compliance including obtaining publisher permission if the usage would exceed fair use guidelines.
  • JKM Library reserves the right to decline placing any item on reserve that lacks copyright permission if the nature, scope, or extent is judged by the library to exceed the reasonable limits of fair use.

View the JKM Copyright Guide for more information about copyright law and best practices.

Learn about Fair Use Doctrine at the JKM Copyright Libguide, here.

It is important to be mindful of copyright law when placing items on course reserves. Here are some rules for when you should seek permissions, based upon the Guidelines for Classroom Copying (1976). 

Materials which do not usually require permissions for reproductions:

  • Works in the public domain, including:
    • U.S. Government publications
    • See this chart from Cornell University to determine if items fall into the public domain based on the date they were published
  • Copyrighted works whose use can be considered fair use are not required as long as the reproduction and use of these materials does not violate the provisions of fair use. Such works include:
    • one article from one issue of a journal, periodical, or newspaper
    • one chapter from a book, anthology, or conference proceeding
    • one short story, essay, or poem from a collection
    • one chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper
  • Multiple copies of copyrighted works: Permissions are not required as long as the reproduction and use of these materials does not violate the provisions of fair use, and meet the additional criteria of brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect as described in the Guidelines for Classroom Copying. Such items include:
    • One reproduction of an item may be placed on reserve for every 20 students enrolled in a course
    • Up to nine such instances of multiple copies may be allowed for a single course; the tenth and subsequent items may only be placed on reserve in single-copies
  • Faculty exams, homework or problem set answers, lecture notes: If a faculty member chooses to place materials they themselves have created, these items have automatically received permission to be placed on course reserve.
  • Student Papers: Student papers may be placed on course reserve only if written permission from the student accompanies each item.
  • Materials which require permissions for reproductions:

Items which violate the doctrine of Fair Use:

  • Multiple articles from a single issue of a journal, periodical, or newspaper
  • Multiple chapters from a single book, anthology, or conference proceeding
  • Multiple elements of a collection of short stories, essays, or poems
  • Reproductions needed for more than one semester

This guide offers some suggestions on how to seek copyright permissions for materials you wish to place on Course Reserve, use in the classroom, or provide in electronic format (e.g., through Moodle). This guide is not legal advice but is intended as an informational guide to assist you in obtaining copyright permissions for educational purposes.

For every item for which you need to seek copyright permissions, you will need to contact the Copyright/Permissions Department of that item's publisher. For books, this information is often available on the back of the title page. For journals, it is often available near the table of contents or with editorial and submission policies. Most publishers will also provide this information on their websites.

Letters of Request should be sent on Chatham University letterhead. Allow approximately four to six weeks for processing by the publisher. It is generally a good idea to include two copies of your letter and release form so that the copyright holder will have one to retain for their records and one to return to you. In addition, you should include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of your release form.

Q: What if I'm using an out-of-print book, is there still a limit on the number of copies I can place on reserve? 

A: No distinction is made between in-print and out-of-print materials with respect to fair use guidelines. In fact, because of recent technological developments which have made print and electronic reproductions both inexpensive and fast, the market for out-of-print (but still under copyright) materials may be stronger now than ever. Note that some out-of-print materials may now be in the public domain and no longer subject to fair use guidelines.

Q: The text I want to use for my class is out-of-print and copies are scarce and prohibitively expensive.  I'd like to place copies of 4 or 5 chapters of this 12-chapter book on reserve for the semester.  Is this allowed?

A: No, this exceeds both the fair use and the classroom use guidelines. If you have a copy or two of the book itself, you may place the entire book on reserve and avoid the problem with photocopies.

Q: Am I (the faculty member) still responsible for copyright if someone else makes the copies for me? 

A: Yes. Even if the copy is made by the Copy Center or a student assistant, the copies are still effectively being made for the faculty member, so the faculty member is responsible. Please also note that library staff will not make copies of articles to be placed on reserve individual faculty members are responsible for providing their own copies.

Q: Why do I have to pick up my photocopies at the end of the semester? 

A: The copyright law does not specifically address the length of time a print copy may be retained, though remember that permissions must be obtained from the publisher to place photocopies on reserve for more than one semester. Additionally, space constraints prohibit the library from retention of course reserves past the end-of-semester pickup time.

Q: How do I get permission to use a copy of an article for more than one semester? 

A: You'll need to seek permission from the copyright holder (for journal articles this is frequently the publisher). If you need assistance in determining the copyright holder, or an example of a permission letter, please visit the Requesting Copyright Permissions page, or ask to look at the copies at the Circulation Desk.

Q: It looks like most course reserve use is probably within the fair use guidelines, so why does the library need me to sign the Course Reserve Request Form?

A: The library can't guarantee what is or is not fair use; we can only make recommendations and suggest you err on the side of caution and seek permissions when in doubt. JKM Library needs to comply with copyright law and fair use, and our policies and procedures are designed to recognize the intent of the law. Your signature on the form indicates our good faith effort to be in full compliance with the law.

Q: It sounds like I need to get permissions for just about everything I want to put on reserve, do I?

A: No, the fair use restrictions apply to reproductions or photocopies of originals. Whole books can be placed on reserve without problems, as can materials in the public domain.

Q: I wrote this article, so can I put as many copies on reserve as I want?

A: That depends. Frequently, when an article is published, the author signs a transfer of copyright to the publisher. If you agreed to such a transfer, the publisher, not you, is the copyright holder, and so use of the article falls under fair use guidelines. If you retained your rights, then we ask only that you carefully consider the minimum number of copies which is reasonable to ensure that the students in your class have adequate access to the material.

Q: I know I need to get permission to use some materials for my course. How do I do this?

A: You'll need to contact the publisher (or copyright holder) requesting permission for use in class or as a course reserve item. Visit the Requesting Copyright Permissions tab for a sample letter. If you're having difficulty determining who the copyright holder is, the library staff may be able to give you some suggestions.

Q: I recorded a documentary from TV and would like to place it on reserve for my students to watch. Is that okay?

A: Yes, but only once. After that you'll need to seek permissions. If you purchase a copy and would like to place that on reserve, that would be fine.

Q: If I received an article through Interlibrary Loan, can I place it on reserve?

A: No, Copyright Law (specifically Section 108(d)) states that a library may copy no more than one article or other contribution to a copyrighted collection or periodical issue, or to a small part of any other copyrighted work. The copy you have received is limited by law to private study, scholarship, or research.

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