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UW-Madison Libraries Policy for Electronic Reserve Access to Copyright-Protected Materials

The libraries’ policy for providing access to copyright-protected materials through its electronic reserve service is derived from the fair use provisions of United States Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17 of the United States Code). Section 107 of the Copyright Act expressly permits the fair use of copyrighted materials for teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, and research. Such educational copying does not require the payment of a royalty or the permission of the copyright owners, provided that the circumstances of the use are fair use as determined by a consideration of four factors specified in section 107. The text of section 107 is as follows:

107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 [Exclusive rights in copyrighted works] and 106A [Rights of certain authors to attribution and integrity], the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The collections of the University of Wisconsin libraries are purchased by the University for the nonprofit educational use of students and faculty. All library materials are acquired with the understanding that there will be multiple uses of a limited number of copies. Libraries frequently pay a premium institutional subscription price for materials, which is many times the individual subscription price, for the privilege of supporting multiple academic users. The sole purpose of the electronic reserve service is to support teaching, scholarship, and research. Considered within this context, electronic reserve services have been developed by the UW-Madison Libraries in a manner that conforms with the plain language of the fair use provisions of the copyright law.

General Policies

The following policies apply to materials that are scanned or downloaded to the libraries’ electronic reserve service. These policies do not apply to materials that are openly posted on the World Wide Web for which direct links are included in the electronic reserve service; to links to electronic resources licensed to the UW-Madison libraries; to materials for which no copyright protection is claimed; or to copyrighted materials that have passed into the public domain.

  1. The libraries will consider the statutory fair use factors in determining whether or not the inclusion of materials in the electronic reserve service is fair use. Permission from the copyright holder will be required for inclusions that exceed what is determined by the libraries to be fair use.
  2. All use of materials placed on electronic reserves will be at the initiative of instructors solely for non-commercial, educational use by students.
  3. Materials from a copyrighted work will not be included in the electronic reserves service unless the instructor, the libraries, or another unit of the University possesses a lawfully-obtained copy of the work.
  4. There will be no charge for access to the electronic reserves service; the charge for copies made by students will be limited to the nominal cost of photocopies or laser prints.
  5. Notice will appear in the electronic reserve service and on items included in the service to indicate that the copying of materials may be subject to copyright law. Whenever a notice of copyright appears on an item, the electronic reserve service should include the fact that copyright is claimed; the year that copyright is claimed; and the name of the copyright holder.
  6. Access to reserve materials will be limited to students registered in the course for which the materials have been placed on reserve, to instructors, and to staff responsible for the electronic reserve service.
  7. Electronic files will be removed from the reserve system when they are no longer used for reserve services.

The UW-Madison libraries will continually monitor legal developments which may affect the fair use analysis of electronic reserve services to ensure that library services are in compliance with the letter and spirit of the United States copyright law.   rev. 5/6/04

Many electronic library resources are licensed under terms which are more restrictive than copyright law. Visit this page for more information: Responsible Use of Licensed Electronic Resources