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Copyright Guidelines for Faculty

Copyright Guidelines for photocopies

As part of the 1976 Copyright Act, Congress issued copyright guidelines on making photocopies for research or teaching purposes. These guidelines are not legally binding, but they are intended to help faculty determine how to comply with fair use. Guidelines:

  1. Single Copying for Teachers: A single copy of the following items may be made for a teacher’s scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
    1. A chapter from a book.
    2. An article from a periodical or newspaper.
    3. A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work.
    4. A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper.
  2. Multiple Copies for Classroom Use: Multiple copies (not to exceed more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for a teacher giving a course for classroom use or discussion, provided that:
    1. The copy made is brief and spontaneous; and
    2. The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made, and
    3. Each copy includes a notice of copyright

Copyrighted media in the classroom

Because it is common to use copyrighted media: audio, digital images, and audiovisual items – for teaching purposes, faculty should be aware of how to follow copyright guidelines for these materials. NDSU Information Technology Services has prepared guidelines for using multimedia projects in the classroom. Baruch College has created an interactive guide to help faculty members understand the different copyright regulations that apply when using media in the classroom.

How to obtain copyright permission

Faculty may need to contact copyright holders directly for permission when planning to use copyrighted materials in a manner that does not constitute fair use. The steps to follow for obtaining permission include:

  1. Identifying the copyright holder or agent.
  2. Sending a written request for permission to the holder. It is important to remember that receiving a response – let alone permission – may take several weeks.
  3. If there is no response from the copyright holder (or if it is impossible to identify the holder), then it is best to follow fair use guidelines or find other materials to use.

Columbia University has examples of permission letters on the website for their Copyright Advisory Office.

Coursepacks and copyright

Section 340.1 of the NDSU Policy Manual stipulates that faculty should obtain copyright permission for any materials that they plan to include as part of a coursepack. Faculty can obtain permission for coursepack materials directly from copyright holders themselves or through the NDSU Bookstore.

Last updated: 7/23/2015