Photocopies in the classroom

Photocopies in the classroom

This section addresses making photocopies for classroom use. See the separate web page for placing photocopies on Course Reserves. For personal research you should refer to the sections below for brevity and cumulative effect. 

You may reproduce works in the public domain without restriction. Works created before 1923 or published without a copyright notice from 1923 - 1977 are in the public domain. See also Resources on the Web- Compliance Tools.

In making photocopies of other materials for classroom instruction use you should:

  • not distribute the same photocopied material from semester to semester without obtaining permission.
  • not make copies to create, replace, or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works without obtaining permission.
  • not charge students for more than the actual cost of the photocopies.
  • distribute only one copy per student.
  • include a copyright notice ("Material may be covered by copyright") on the first page.
  • only replace purchased copies of sheet music for an imminent performance, provided purchased replacement copies shall be substituted in due course.
  • follow the guidelines for brevity, cumulative effect, and spontaneity.

Brevity means your copies should not constitute a substantial portion of the total work. Acceptable examples include:

  • a chapter from a book.
  • an essay, poem, or story from a collected work.
  • an article, essay, poem, or story from a periodical or newspaper.
  • a cartoon, chart, diagram, drawing, graph, or picture from a  book, newspaper, or periodical.
  • excerpts of sheet music if they do not constitute a performable unit and do not exceed 10% of the work.

Cumulative effect means copies should not have a detrimental effect on the market. You should avoid:

  • copying an item for more than one course in the school.
  • copying more than one  work from the same author.
  • making more than three copies from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
  • making multiple copies of more than nine resources for one course during one class term. This limitation does not apply to copies of news periodicals, newspapers, and current news sections of other periodicals.

Spontaneity means you lack adequate time between the decision to use a work and the time needed to gain permission for its scheduled use.  Re-using material cannot be considered spontaneous.