Guidelines for Classroom Use of Copyrighted Materials

The following Guidelines for Classroom Copying of Books and Periodicals is taken from Circular 21 “Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians” of the U.S. Copyright Office.  The purpose of the guidelines is to state the minimum, not the maximum, standards of Fair Use as detailed under Section 107 of HR2223.  It is the policy of Macalester College to adhere to these guidelines.

I.  Single Copying for Teachers

A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for his or her 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;

II.  Multiple Copies for Classroom Use

Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion; provided that:

  1. The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below; and,
  2. Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below; and,
  3. Each copy includes a notice of copyright.



  1. Poetry:  (a) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or, (b) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
  2. Prose:  (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words. [Each of the numerical limits stated in “i” and “ii” above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph.]
  3. Illustration:  One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.
  4. “Special” works:  Certain works in poetry, prose or in “poetic prose” which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience fall short of 2500 words in their entirety. Paragraph “ii” above notwithstanding such “special works” may not be reproduced in their entirety: however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than 10% of the words found in the text thereof, may be reproduced.


  1. The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and
  2. The inspiration and decision to use the work and 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

  1. The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
  2. Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
  3. There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term.

(The limitations stated in “ii” and “iii” above shall not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.)

III. Prohibitions as to I and II above

Notwithstanding any of the above, the following shall be prohibited:

  1. Copying shall not be used to create or to replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works.  Such replacement or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts there from are accumulated or reproduced and used separately.
  2. There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be “consumable” in the course of study or of teaching.  These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets and like consumable material.
  3. Copying shall not:
    1. substitute for the purchase of books, publishers’ reprints or periodicals;
    2. be directed by higher authority;
    3. be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.
  4. No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.

Agreed March 19, 1976
Ad Hoc Committee on Copyright Law Revision:  by Sheldon Elliott Steinbach

Authors League of America:  by Irwin Karp, Counsel Association of American Publishers, Inc.: by Alexander C. Hoffman,     Chairman, Copyright Committee

Copying and Scanning

The library staff will assure that notice of copyright will appear near all reproducing equipment. This includes all photocopiers and scanners used within the library. The copyright statement that will appear by the machines is as follows:


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The person using this equipment is liable for copyright infringement.”

Electronic Journals

For purposes of copyright and interlibrary loan, electronic journals are held to the same standards as printed journals and subject to the same considerations for Fair Use and Classroom copying.

All services with which we contract to provide online fulltext include statements regarding copyright in their information on terms and conditions of use.

Interlibrary Loan

Libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction under certain specific conditions. One of these specified conditions is the photocopy or reproduction should not be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research [17 U.S.C. Section 108(D1) and (E1)].” The library will refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would violate copyright law.  While providing the interlibrary loan service the Macalester College library adheres to the following copyright guidelines:

  • Requesting, and receiving, no more than five articles per year within any single journal title published within the last five years.  If this limit is exceeded we will notify the Copyright Clearance Center and pay a royalty fee for any article received beyond this limit.
  • Requesting no more than one article from any one journal issue at a time.
  • Keeping electronic versions of copied material for a limited time period.  Macalester sets this limit at seven days.  During this time period an electronic copy may be saved, printed, or deleted by the person who requested it.  At the end of this time period the copy will be permanently deleted and must be requested again if a new copy is desired.

Photocopies from Books and Periodicals for ILL
All materials processed for interlibrary loan purposes must include a copy of the copyright notice from the original work or a statement regarding copyright protections as per section 108 of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act regarding Limitations on exclusive Rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives:

“The reproduction or distribution of the work includes a notice of copyright that appears on the copy or phonorecord that is reproduced under the provisions for this section, or includes a legend stating that the work may be protected by copyright if no such notice can be found on the copy or phonorecord that is reproduced under the provisions of the law.”

Print and Course Content

These guidelines apply to both traditional print reserve material and materials placed in the course learning system, Moodle.

The DeWitt Wallace library staff will aid in the interpretation of the law and assist faculty in adhering to this policy. The library will not place material on reserve if the material is judged to be beyond the reasonable limits of fair use.

For Moodle courses, in order to comply with the federal copyright guidelines faculty should be aware of the following:

  1. When posting articles for course use, the preferred option is to link to journal articles in our electronic journals or fulltext subscription databases. In order to make articles accessible for use on or off campus, we insert the EZProxy URL (more information on EZProxy)
  2. If not directly linking to one of our electronic journals or fulltext databases, material posted  in Moodle should contain the notice of copyright. This includes: the letter “c” in a circle, ©, date and place of publication, author, and title. In the case of a journal article, place of publication is not necessary.
  3. Repeated use of articles or materials not owned by the library is considered to exceed Fair Use provisions. Please use this form to submit questions and a library staff member will respond.  Following review, the library will process permission requests as needed.
  4. For more information, please contact Connie Karlen (x6545 or oraccess the Frequently Asked Questions or Reserves information for faculty and staff.
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