Agreed to by the Ad Hoc Committee of Educational Institutions and Organizations on Copyright Law and Revision, the Authors League of America, and the Association of American Publishers, the guidelines can also be helpful in quickly determining if a use is allowable. 

In the agreement, the following restrictions apply to reproducing course reading material.  However, copying and scanning not covered under these guidelines may still be permissable under fair use criteria (Circular 21, U.S. Copyright Office, pp. 6-7).

Single Copying:

  • A single chapter from a book.
  • One article per issue from a periodical, journal or newspaper.
  • One short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work.
  • One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.

Multiple Copying:

  • Multiple copies (not to exceed more than one copy per pupil in the course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion; provided that:
  • The copying meets the tests of brevity, spontaneity and cumulative effect as defined below.
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright.



Poetry: A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.

Prose: 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 less but in any event a minimum of 500 words.

Illustration: one chart, graph diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.


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 is so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative Effect:

The material is for one course per semester. 

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 mulitple copying for one course during one class term.

General Limitations:

The library will not place materials on reserve if the nature, scope, or extent of the copied material is beyond the limits of fair use.

Copying shall not be used to create or to replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works.

There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be "consumable" in the course of study or of teaching. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets and like consumable material.

Substitute for the purchase of books, publishers' reprints or periodicals; can not be directed by higher authority.

No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.

No course packs.

Additional Resources:

Crews, Kenneth D. Copyright essentials for librarians and educators: creative strategies and practical solutions. 2nd ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 2005.  (find in CONSORT)

Lipinski, Tomas A. The complete copyright liability handbook for librarians and educators. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2006.  (find in CONSORT)

For More Information:

Joan Nielson, / Manager of Access Services

Jennifer Beck, / Library Services Supervisor

Olin & Chalmers Libraries

(740)-427-5990 0r (740)-427- 5658