The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United
States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other
reproductions of copyrighted material including sound
recodings, films, software and photographs.
The law explicitly permits libraries and archives to
reproduce single copies of works for replacement and
preservation and to provide individuals with single copies of
works for their private use under certain conditions (Section
108). Except for a few specific classroom teaching situations
, US Copyright Law obligates a person to
of copyright holders before making or using multiple
photocopies of copyrighted works published within the last 95
In order to protect Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, its
faculty and staff from liability for copyright infringement the
Libraries have developed the following policies relating to the
photocopying of copyrighted materials:
- The Libraries will make single copies of copyrighted
works on behalf of individuals for their personal use in
accordance with "fair use" guidelines and Section 107 of US
- The Libraries reserve the right in their judgment to
refuse either to accept a photocopying request that would
involve a violation of copyright law or to make available in
Class Reserves such materials that might have been duplicated
in violation of copyright law.
- Responsibility for obtaining and demonstrating that
copyright holder permission either is actively being sought
or has been received resides with the person or department
requesting the photocopy.
- Except for royalty charges associated with the use of
single photocopies in Class Reserve, royalty fees must be
paid by the individual or department requesting service.
Examples of "Unfair Use"
This page is maintained by John Dojka.
Typical photocopying requests that are not "fair use" and
require obtaining the copyright holder's permission (and
usually entailing the payment of royalties) for use
- An employee requests a single copy of a work on behalf
of a company's research office;
- A research associate wants to distribute copies of a
journal article he or she wrote to persons attending an
upcoming national conference, but the copyright notice at
the bottom of the page shows the article to be registered
in the publisher's name;
- An instructor wants to use the same photocopies of
readings she used for the same course last year;
- An administrator directs a secretary to photocopy and
distribute copies of the "Wall Street Journal's News In
Brief" section to all departmental staff daily;
- An assistant professor requests that three photocopies
of a chapter from a book be placed on Class Reserve in the
library for his class;
- An associate professor wants to have photocopies of
selected readings sold at the bookstore because there is no
satisfactory textbook available.