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Pacific Lutheran University

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Copyright & Fair Use: Print Resources in the Classroom and Online

Library Reserves Support

The library can assist you by:

  • providing digital scans of print materials (subject to copyright and fair use guidelines)

To request assistance with course reserve materials, start here.

Open Educational Resources

By definition, open educational resources are licensed by their creator for free use subject to few if any restrictions, and neither permission nor fair use considerations are required. Consult the library's open educational resources guide for more details.

In-depth Information

Making and Using Digital Copies of Print Resources

When physical print resources are inaccessible, it may be advisable to have digital copies made of the materials for students to access. We recommend taking the following into consideration:

  • Scan the minimum amount of material needed for educational purposes. (If you are asking the library to make the scans, this also makes less work for us.)
  • Consider the four factors of fair use (see below) and use them in deciding what and how much to scan.
  • Make this material available through your course Sakai; this is easier for students and ensures that only students in your course can access it (unlike the library reserves system).
  • Consider alternatives such as open access resources, or digital resources that are already in the library's collection.

Fair Use Checklist

Below is a printable checklist to help you determine fair use.

Fair Use

What is Fair Use?

Fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law allow use of copyrighted materials on a limited basis for specific purposes without the permission of the copyright holder.

Is my use fair? -- The four factor test:

Fair Use Table

It is necessary to weigh all four factors to decide whether a fair use exemption seems to apply to a proposed reuse. Courts take a holistic approach -- they do not simply add up a positive or negative for each factor.

Judges have tended to focus on two questions that collapse the four factors:

  • Does the use transform the material, by using it for a different purpose?
  • Was the amount taken appropriate to the new purpose?

To help support a fair use case for an image:

  • Use lower resolution or thumbnail versions where possible;
  • Place the image in a new context or use it for a new purpose; and
  • Use only the parts of the image needed for the purpose

Information obtained from MIT Libraries and used with permission.