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Reserves & Copyright: Home


Read The Law:

About Course Reserves

The primary purpose of course reserves is to make a limited number of class materials available to students in a timely and equitable manner.  Items placed on Reserves respond to “in the moment” needs for a specific class.


  • Book store is out of a required text and students need to review a chapter for a class discussion THAT WEEK.
  • A news article is published and it is on a topic that is being discussed in class AT THAT MOMENT.

Reserves & Copyright

All content placed on Course Reserves must comply with U.S. Copyright law. No one should place a source on reserve that consists of copyrighted material or portions of copyrighted material without first:

  • determining that the content falls within the public domain, or
  • obtaining permission from the copyright owner, or
  • determining, after a reasonable analysis, that the content is a fair use for which permission is not required.

Fair Use & Permissions

What is Fair Use?

In U.S. Copyright Law there are limited exceptions whereby copyrighted material may be used without obtaining written permission from the author or artist or publisher.  These limited exceptions have been labeled “Fair Use.” For example a person writing a book review for the newspaper does not have to obtain the author’s permission to use a quote from the book, if the use of the quote is within the context of the book review.

To make a good faith determination as to whether your use of copyrighted material is Fair Use, there are four factors that can be applied.

(NOTE to students: This is NOT the same a citing your sources for a assignment!)


Columbia University's Fair Use Checklist:

One instrument that is helpful is Colombia University's fair use checklist.  It is recommend you use this checklist in analyzing fair use. If the fair use analysis leads you to believe that reserve use isn't fair, you need to ask for permission.

Reserves Policy @ Booth

Course Reserves Policy

Booth Library is committed to compliance with Copyright Laws.
Booth Library does not create or manage digital reserves.

Procedures for placing items on Course Reserve:

  • Reserve materials take 24 hours to process. Items received Friday afternoon will be processed on Monday. Reserve items are not processed on the weekends.
  • Instructor’s personal items will have processing materials, such as barcodes, labels, tape, etc. attached to the item. These processing materials may not always be removed without causing damage to the items.
  • If copyright permission is required, it is the instructor’s responsibility to obtain the permission. The process must be completed before the item is placed on Reserve. The Instructor will be asked to provide the library with copies of the copyright permissions that have been obtained.   

End of semester procedure:

With few exceptions, Reserve items will be removed from Reserves at the end of each semester.

The following guidelines are provided to assist instructors but do not preclude further restrictions by the Library.

Items that will NOT be placed on Reserves:

Course packs
Copied feature films
Consumables (i.e. workbooks)
Photocopied books beyond 1 chapter
Interlibrary Loan Items

Items that DO require copyright permission are:

  • Any Reserve item used for more than one semester by the same professor for the same course.
  • Multiple articles reproduced from a single journal issue or multiple chapters from a book.
  • Reproduced copyrighted materials that will be used repeatedly by the same instructor.
  • Complimentary books that have “Review Copy,” “Examination Copy,” or similar wording printed on the book by the publisher.

Items that do NOT require copyright permission are:

  • Instructor’s exams, syllabi, lecture notes, homework answers.(created by the instructor)
  • Books from the Library’s general collection
  • Student papers (proof of author’s consent is required)
  • U.S. Government publications
  • One reproduced article from a journal issue (1. For one semester only; 2. Full bibliographic citation is required; 3. A copyright notice will be attached to an article during processing)
  • One reproduced chapter from a book (1. For one semester only; 2. Full bibliographic citation is required; 3. A copyright notice will be attached to the chapter during processing)

Material from Databases or e-Sources

Booth Library provides access to a number of databases and electronic sources (i.e. journal articles and eBooks) through agreements with vendors. Licensing rarely extends to downloading e-sources to a course management system. It is recommended that students be instructed in accessing e-sources via the databases.

Databases A-Z

Note About SAKAI

Posting materials to Sakai still requires the instructor to comply with copyright law. There are many considerations in determining fair use, each instance should be assessed on its own merits. However broadly speaking, non-licensed, copyrighted works will require permission.


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