Copyright Information for SUNY Geneseo Faculty
Copyright Permission and Information for Library Reserve Digitization
The Reserve staff in Milne Library digitizes materials for course
reserves based on the Fair Use provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act of
1976. The principle of "fair use" is established in 17 USC Section 107,
which states that the reproduction of copyrighted works for certain
limited, educational purposes does not constitute copyright
infringement. When library materials are purchased it is with the
understanding that there will be multiple users and subscription
materials often include a premium to support these users.
To determine whether copyright permission is needed for Electronic
Reserves, faculty should keep in mind that the following four factors
are considered in the determination of fair use:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is
of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes. Copying
by non-profit institutions for educational use weighs in favor of fair
- The nature of the copyrighted work. Published factual materials
(such as texts, journal articles, treatises, etc.) rather than creative
and fanciful works (such as novels, short stories, plays, etc.) weigh in
favor of fair use.
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the
copyrighted work as a whole. Quantity must be evaluated relative to the
length of the entire original and the amount needed to serve a proper
objective. The substantiality concept ("the heart of the work") is a
qualitative measure that may weigh against fair use.
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the
copyrighted work. If copying the work results in the loss of licensing
or royalty fees this may weigh against fair use.
Rules of thumb for digitizing and using others' works in Electronic Reserves/MyCourses
The Fair Use Guidelines
for Electronic Reserves describe general limitations on the scope of
materials that should be included, citation and notice requirements and
access, use, storage and reuse of reserve materials. These Rules of
Thumb are an abbreviated summary of the Guidelines terms which provide helpful guidance that we recommend you view.
- Limit reserve materials to single articles or chapters; several charts, graphs or illustrations; or other small parts of a work; a small part of the materials required for the course;
copies of materials that a faculty member or the library already
possesses legally (i.e., by purchase, license, fair use, interlibrary
- any copyright notice on the original appropriate citations
- attributions to the source
- a Section 108(f)(1) notice*
- Limit access to students enrolled in the class and administrative staff as needed. Terminate access at the end of the class term.
- Obtain permission for copyrighted materials that will be used repeatedly by the same instructor for the same class.
The faculty member bears the legal responsibility for complying with
copyright laws and obtaining copyright permission from the copyright
The faculty member must electronically "sign" the copyright compliance form verifying compliance with copyright law.
If copyright permission is needed send a written request to the
publisher or copyright owner. Permission for classroom and reserve use
is sometimes granted free of charge while at other times there is a fee.
Download a sample permission form (PDF).
You may also obtain copyright permission by contacting the Copyright Clearance Center.
Other information resources.
Works That May Not Require Copyright Permission
- Works published prior to January 1, 1978 without copyright notices
may be reproduced without restriction. Also see Laura Gassaway?s Public Domain chart.
- U.S. Government publications are considered as being within the
public domain. However, some government publications, including those
prepared by outside authors on contract, may require permission.
- All copyrights dated earlier than 1923 have expired. Copyrights dated 1923 or later may have expired
- Works that have never been copyrighted (Note, however, that the
absence of a copyright notice will not be taken to mean that the work is
not protected by copyright.)
- Journals and other publications that permit reproduction of their articles for instructional purposes
Copyright Permission Websites
"Copying, displaying and
distributing copyrighted works, may infringe the owner's copyright. The
University's policy statement on fair use can help you determine whether
your use of a copyrighted work may be an infringement. Any use of
computer or duplicating facilities by students, faculty or staff for
infringing use of copyrighted works is subject to appropriate
disciplinary action as well as those civil and criminal penalties
provided by federal law."
If you have additional questions about copyright, please phone the Service Desk at (585-245-5594) or email email@example.com.