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Open Educational Resources (OER): (Fair) Use of Copyrighted Information

A collection of links and resources for faculty use when developing OER.

EP 85




The purpose of this Educational Procedure is to state the minimum standards for educational fair use. It is understood that the conditions determining the extent of permissible copying for educational purposes may change in the future; that certain types of copying or use of electronic material permitted under these guidelines may not be permissible in the future; and conversely that in the future other types of copying not permitted under these guidelines may be permissible under revised guidelines. 


Moreover, the following statement of guidelines is not intended to limit the types of copying permitted under the standards of fair use under judicial decision and which are stated in Section 107 of the Copyright Revision Bill. There may be instances in which copying which does not fall within the guidelines stated below may nonetheless be permitted under the criteria of fair use. Four factors are considered when determining fair use:


  1. What is the nature or purpose of the use?
  2. What is the nature of copyrighted work?
  3. How much of the work will be used?
  4. What is the market effect on the original work of the use?








A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her request for his or her scholarly research, or use in teaching or in 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. 




Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event 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. 


No one factor alone determines a person’s right to use a copyrighted work without permission.


                Please refer to Printing and Publications for questions.  





Electronic copyrighted material are dealt on a case-by-case basis.   The college Bookstore or eLearning can provide insight on educational materials of adopted course material.  Non-adopted electronic resources must also follow the fair use guidelines.  





  1. BREVITY: 


  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 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 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 1 and 2 above, may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or 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 “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 2,500 words in their entirety. Paragraph 2 above notwithstanding such “special works” may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising of 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. 




  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 1 and 2 above shall not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.) 




Notwithstanding any of the above, the following shall be prohibited without obtaining prior permission to copy: 




  1. 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 therefrom are accumulated or are reproduced and used separately. 




  1. Of or from works intended to be “consumable” in the course of study or teaching. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets and like consumable material. 




  1. Substitute for the purchase of books, publisher’s 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 


  1. No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying


  1. Reproduce all or part of the work


  1. To distribute copies (including by transmission through the internet)


  1. To perform the work publicly


  1. To display the work publicly


This material has been reprinted from Questions and Answers on Copyright for the Campus Community Copyright (7th Edition). ©2006, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and the Software & Information Industry Association.  

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