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Copyright and Fair Use: Copyright Compliance Guidelines for Faculty

This guide will help students and faculty understand copyright, fair use, and plagiarism better.

Placing Materials on Reserve

The Utah Tech University Library accepts course related material from faculty for reserve that are in compliance with US Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107) and the fair use guidelines. Each instructor is required to get their own copyright clearance for all of their reserve items.

Faculty can place books, videos or other materials on reserve using the Utah Tech University Library Reserve Request form. Go to Course Reserves on the faculty services page of the library homepage or contact library staff at (435) 652-7715.

Course Reserves

  • The Course Reserve area is located at the Circulation desk of the Utah Tech University Library.
  • Utah Tech University Library Reserve Request Forms are available at the Reserve Desk.
  • Class related materials such as books, a single chapter from a book, articles, sample exams, course syllabi, problem sets, lecture notes, etc. may be placed on course reserve.
  • The library does not attempt to buy textbooks.
  • Material must be delivered at least three days prior to the date of intended use.
  • Requests are processed in the order they are received.
  • A separate form needs to be filled out for each class.
  • Multiple items for the same class can be listed on one form.
  • It is recommended that all items be placed on reserve for “in library use only” unless there is a second copy that can be checked out for take home use.
  • Photocopies must be “best copy” quality, single-sided, and on 8.5 x 11 paper.
  • The source of photocopies of a chapter from a book, journal article, etc. must be clearly identified.
  • Selections from library owned material will be copied and scanned upon request.
  • Material submitted must be in conformance with U.S. Copyright guidelines.
  • Limit requests to one chapter or 10% from each book per semester and single articles from journal issues. One chapter cannot be taken down in order to post a second chapter.

If you have any questions or concerns related to course reserve items or policies please contact us at 652-7715.

Placing material on Canvas

Is material placed on Canvas fair use?

1. If you link an article from the library's databases, then you are within the realm of fair use and copyright.

2. If you post or scan the material onto your course website or Canvas, then you need to follow the same guidelines of the Fair Use doctrine. (See box titled "Copying for Classroom Use").

Sample Copyright Statement for Course Syllabi

Copyright Restriction: Materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection under Title 17 of the United States Code. Copyrighted course materials may not be further disseminated outside the course without permission. The user of this work is responsible for adhering to copyright law. Learn more at

Copying for Classroom Use

Copying of copyrighted materials for student learning and research use without written permission may occur in the following instances:

Single copying for teachers

Single copies may be made of any of the following by teachers for scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  • One chapter from a book;
  • An article from a periodical, journal, or newspaper;
  • A short story, short essay, or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book,periodical, or newspaper.

Multiple copies for student learning use

Multiple copies (not to exceed more than one copy per student in a course) may be made by the teacher giving the course for student learning use or discussion; provided that the following three criteria are met:

  • The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity (as defined below).
  • The copying meets the cumulative effect test (as defined below).
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright. An example is "this material may be protected by Copyright law (title 17, US Code)."


Brevity: Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, (usually varies 3-8 pages depending on size of page and type) or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work, whichever is greater.

Spontaneity: The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and the inspiration and decision to use the work.The moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative effect: Copying of the material is for only one course in the department in which the copies are made.

(Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology: Retrieved from

Obtaining Permission

Obtaining permission and paying the licensing fees are the instructor's responsibilities. Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and web sites. You need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder (i.e. outside the boundaries of fair use).

Steps that need to be followed to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:

  1. Determine if permission is needed for the work you want to use.
  2. Identify the copyright holder or agent. 
  3. Send written request for permission to use. Remember to give yourself ample lead time, as the process for obtaining permissions can take months. Decide if you are willing to pay a licensing fee/royalty.
  4. If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), be prepared to use a limited amount that qualifies for fair use, or use alternative material.

For more information, visit the Copyright Clearnce Center's Obtaining Permission page.