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Electronic Reserve Guidelines

The sole purpose of electronic reserves (ERes) is to facilitate access to multiple uses of copies by students in a class. It is understood that these materials are supplementary to teach a class. ERes should not be confused with web-based instruction.

  • Complete bibliographic citations must be included for all copies of articles or chapters.
  • Photocopies must be clean and on one side only.
  • Items previously used and multiple chapters from one source require copyright permission.

There are no restrictions on items that are not copyright-protected (e.g. materials authored by professors for their courses).

With respect to Electronic Reserves and the use of copyright-protected materials, there are two options available:

  1. Justify by fair use or other exemptions in copyright law*
  2. Obtain permission for specific or continued use from the copyright holder or authorized agent

*1. Justify by "fair use" or other exemptions in copyright law

  • Limit each instance of reserve material to one chapter of a book, or one article from a periodical issue or any other small proportion (10% or less) of a complete work.
  • Reserve materials should constitute a small proportion of the total material provided for a class (i.e. should not constitute a course pack (anthology) or substitute for the use of a textbook or other sources).
  • Copies should be made from materials that the library or the professor has legally obtained through purchase or other means.
  • Materials placed on reserve must contain a copyright notice, and citations to the complete work from which the material is excerpted.
  • Access should be restricted by means of an ECOM account to those students enrolled in the class.
  • The material may not be used simultaneously or consecutively for another course or at another time, i.e. one time use for one class for one semester only, without permission. The library will automatically delete all copyright-protected items at the end of the semester unless written permission has been obtained.

The above guidelines are for use in general; exceptions to the above, in specific instances, can be subjected to the 4-factor fair use test and may still be deemed fair use.*

17 USC 504(c)(2) permits the courts not to award damages even if the copying is adjudged to be in excess of fair use, provided the person making the copy reasonably believed that the copying was fair. Following the above guidelines serves as a "safe harbor" to ensure compliance with the minimum provisions of the law.

2. Obtain permission for specific or continued use from the copyright holder

There are three options open for obtaining necessary permissions:

  1. Through collective rights organizations and services
  2. Through licensing agreements provided by vendors of electronic information systems (e.g. full-text journals via Infotrac)
  3. Discovering and contacting the copyright owner directly

In the case of materials needing copyright permission before being posted to ERes (i.e. use not justifiable by fair use or other exemptions), the library will endeavor to obtain permission on behalf of the faculty member teaching the course. If necessary, the library will pay copyright fees up to $20 per item. We estimate that it may take up to 4 weeks to obtain permission. If copyright permission is denied or delayed, or if the cost exceeds $20, the item cannot be placed on ERes. Faculty still have the option of obtaining permission themselves.

A. & B. Through collective rights organizations and services & licensing agreements.

A number of organizations and agencies exist that provide permissions for use of copyrighted materials. The Copyright Clearance Center's Academic Permissions Service is perhaps the best known but there are others in the same business. Yankee Rights Management, iCopyright, Publication Rights Clearing House are some other examples. Providers of electronic resources, such as ProQuest's Sitebuilder, will license access to materials in their databases. These are all efficient and timely services but at a price! They are also limited as to what they can license. Other specialized agencies exist to take care of formats other than books or periodicals such as musical performance, plays, movies, etc.

C. Discovering and contacting the copyright owner directly

Copyright automatically attaches to the creator of an original work set in any tangible medium, but in the course of publication authors often assign their rights to a publisher. Often, copyright statements attached to published works or information on the verse of the title page will reveal the identity and whereabouts of the rights holder but there are occasions when it is extremely difficult to identify or contact the copyright owner. Sometimes, in spite of the seekers best endeavors, it is impossible to ascertain who the owner is or obtain the necessary permission and alternative sources of information must then be considered.

* For consideration of "Fair Use" and other exemptions to authors' exclusive rights, see the Copyright Resources at WIU instructional guide page.