Electronic Reserve Service – Fair Use Determinations

Staff accepting materials for inclusion in the electronic reserve service should consider the four fair use factors to determine if a closer review of the materials is necessary before including the materials in the electronic reserve service. These factors are stated in Section 107 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). It should be noted that no single factor will determine whether or not a particular use is fair use. Rather, fair use is determined by balancing these factors and considering them in relation to each other. Go to the Fair Use Determinations Checklist.

When staff has determined that a request might exceed the fair use provisions of the copyright law, the request will be referred to a supervisor who will review the materials for fair use compliance. Further review will be conducted, as necessary, by the copyright compliance staff member in that administrative area and the administrative head of the library.

In the event that the library deems the requested use to exceed fair use, the following options should be explored with the instructor:

  • Identifying alternate ways to give students access to materials; or
  • Purchasing print copies of the material to be available in the print reserve collection; or
  • Obtaining permission from the copyright owner for use of the material; this might include paying royalties to the copyright owner for the use of the material in electronic reserves.

Staff will maintain records of fair use determinations to substantiate copyright compliance. Every effort will be made to ensure that these procedures are performed in a timely manner as part of the libraries’ commitment to providing students with access to the materials they need to complete their course work

November 2006