All Information on this page and more can be found in "Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians".
Copying of copyrighted materials for student learning and research use without written permission may occur in the following instances:
Single Copying for Teachers
Single copies may be made of any of the following by or for teachers at their individual request for scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
Multiple Copies for Student Learning
Multiple copies (not to exceed more than one copy per student in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for student learning use or discussion; provided that the following three criteria are met:
Brevity: Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is greater but in any event a minimum of 500 words.
Spontaneity: The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher. The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.
Cumulative effect: Copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made. Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay, or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term. No more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term.
Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and web sites. You need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder (i.e. outside the boundaries of fair use).
Steps that need to be followed to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:
U.S. Copyright Office. (n.d.). Circular 21: Reproduction of copyrighted works by educators and librarians. Retrieved from
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