Photocopying Guidelines for Teaching and Research
Copyrights protect “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and intellectual works, from infringement and unauthorized reproduction. The Copyright Act defines the rights of a copyright holder. Copyright protection is now automatic for any new work that exhibits minimal creativity, in a tangible form. Penalties for unlawful copyright infringement can be severe, including substantial monetary damages in certain circumstances.
1. Understanding Copyright Protection
To determine whether a particular work has been copyrighted, look at the front pages of the book or periodical for a copyright notice. It consists of the copyright symbol (© or an abbreviation “Copr.”), plus the year of the first publication and the name of the copyright owner. However, the presence of a copyright notice no longer carries much significance because the law no longer requires a copyright notice to be place in recently published or unpublished works.
Anyone may photocopy, without restriction, published or unpublished works on which copyrights have expired and are now in the public domain.
Any works published on or before December 31, 1922, are now in public domain. Works published between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1978, are protected for a term of 95 years from the date of publication, with a proper copyright notice on the work. One important note: if the work was published between 1923 and December 31, 1963, it may be in the public domain if the copyright owner did not renewed the copyright after an original term of protection which lasted only 28 years.
Works created before December 31, 1978, but not published are protected till either December 31, 2002 or the length of time from when the author dies plus 70 years, whichever amount of time is longer.
Works created after 1978, published or unpublished, are protected for 70 years from the date the author dies.
It is generally recommended that photocopiers either assume the work still has copyright protection or ask the copyright owner or the U.S. Copyright Office whether the work is still subject to the copyright protection. Usually a publisher owns the copyright or knows the owner’s location. If not, an owner can be located through the U.S. Copyright Officer, Library or Congress, Washington, DC, 20559.
U.S. government publications may be photocopied without constraint, except potentially to the extent that they contain copyrighted work from other sources. This classification consists of documents prepared by an officer or employee of the U.S. government as part of that person’s official duties. It does not extend to documents published by others with the support of U.S. government grants or contracts. The front page of the document should indicate whether the work is copyrighted.
2. Fair Use
A portion of copyright law, “fair use,” does authorize teachers to photocopy and use copyrighted works for educational purposes without paying royalties to the author or securing permission. The doctrine of “fair use,” codified in 17 U.S.C §107, outlines four factors which would favor photocopying a work without obtaining permission. These four factors can help you determine whether photocopying constitutes fair use but usually there is no certain answer on fairness. All four factors must be considered:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- The nature of the work you want to use;
- How much of the work is used; and
- The effect of the use on the market for the work or the value of the copyrighted work.
- It is generally fair use for teachers to copy supplementary items for such purposes as filling in missing information or bringing materials up to date.
For teaching, including preparation, and for scholarly research, a teacher may make, or have made at his or her individual request, a single copy of:
- a chapter from a book;
- an article from a periodical or newspaper;
- a short story, short essay, or short poem or whether or not from a collective work; or
- a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper.
For one-time distribution in class to students, a teacher may make, or have made multiple copies if he or she:
- makes no more than one for each student in a course;
- does not make copies for students who are not in his or her own classes;
- includes the notice of copyright by writing it on the first sheet or copying the page on which it appears;
- is selective and sparing in choosing poetry, prose, and illustrations;
- does not use copies to create or substitute for anthologies or collective works;
- copies pursuant to their own initiative, and not according to the plan of a supervisor or administrator; and
- makes no charge to students beyond the actual cost of photocopying.
Making multiple copies is more likely to constitute fair use if, (1) the copying will not have a significant effect upon the potential market for the work being copied and distributed; (2) if there is insufficient time to seek permission from the owner of the copyright; or (3) if the work is factual rather than fictional.
Limit coursepack materials to: single chapters, single articles from a journal, several charts, graphs or illustrations, or other similarly small parts of work. You should also include any copyright notice on the original and any appropriate citations and attributions to the source.
Copying shall not be used to create or to replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works. Such replacements or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts therefrom are accumulated or reproduced and used separately. Furthermore, copying shall not be a substitution for the purchase of books, publishers’ reprints, or periodicals nor shall copying be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.
Permissible photocopying of copyrighted material for library reserve use is also subject to the foregoing “fair use” guidelines. For example, if a teacher requires one copy to be placed on reserve, he or she may photocopy an entire article, one chapter of a book, or a short poem. In addition to above guidelines, the number of multiple copies on reserve should also be reasonable in light of the number of students enrolled, the difficulty and timing of assignments, and the number of other courses which may assign the same material. Also, the library should usually own at least one copy of the work. UW Libraries has additional information at Course Reserves and Materials.
Electronic reserves can also be established. More information is available at Copyright and Electronic Reserves regarding the UW Library policies and guidelines.
Photocopying for which permission should be obtained. Permission should be obtained whenever photocopying does not conform to the foregoing guidelines. Teachers should obtain permission in the following situations.
- Repetitive Copying The “fair use” justification is weaker in the case of photocopying for multiple courses or successive semesters. Therefore, teachers who anticipate such uses should obtain prior permission.
- Copying at Commercial Copy Centers Teachers will have to obtain permission from publishers before having commercial copy centers compile coursepacks, or pay the copy center a fee to obtain permission on their behalf. Teachers are encouraged when required to obtain permission themselves. Seeking permission directly may increase the likelihood that the copyright owners grant permission without assessing royalty fees.
- Consumable Works Teachers should secure permission before making multiple copies of copyrighted published or unpublished works which are intended to be consumed during the course of classroom activities, such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and their answers.
- Copying According to an Overall Plan In most instances it is not fair use to copy according to a plan designed by supervisors, which usually means administrators in the University context.
3. How to Obtain Permission
The American Association of Publishers suggests that the following information be included in a permission request letter:
- Title, author and/or editor, and edition of materials to be duplicated;
- Exact material to be used, giving amount, page numbers, chapters and, if possible an actual photocopy of the material;
- Number of copies to be made;
- Use for the copied materials;
- Form of distribution;
- Whether or not the material will be sold; and
- Type of reprint.
The request should be sent to the permission department of the publisher. The address of the publisher can be obtained in The Literary Marketplace, which is generally available in all libraries. Information regarding the process to obtain permission for specific works can also be found at the Copyright Clearance Center.
The process of granting permission requires some time because the publisher has to check the status of the copyright and evaluate the request. In some instances, the publisher may assess a fee for the permission. You are allowed to pass this fee on to the student(s) who receive copies of the photocopied materials.
4. Further Information
Please contact the University of Wisconsin Office of Administrative Legal Services (263-7400) with any questions or if you would like advice on specific aspects of copyright law as they apply to your area of responsibility.