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AP 3750 Use of Copyrighted Material


U. S. Code Title 17, Copyright Act of 1976;
NWCCU 2020 Standards 2.I.1

The “fair use” doctrine permits limited use of copyrighted materials in certain situations, including teaching and scholarship. In some instances, copyright may be required for works that fall within “fair use.”

Single Copying for Teachers
A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at their individual request for their scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  • A chapter from a book
  • An article from a periodical 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 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:

  • The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below; and
  • Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below; and
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright



  • 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.
  • 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 "i" and "ii" above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph.)
  • Illustration:  One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.
  • "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 2,500 words in their entirety.  Paragraph "i" 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.


  • The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher; and
  • 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:

  • The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
  • 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.
  • 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.)

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

  • 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 therefrom are accumulated or are reproduced and used separately.
  • There shall be no copying 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.
  • Copying shall not:
    • substitute for the purchase of books, publisher's reprints or periodicals
    • be directed by higher authority
    • be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.
  • No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.


Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Corp. (S.D.N.Y. 1991) 758 F.Supp. 1522;  and Princeton University Press v. Michigan Document Services, Inc. (6th Cir. 1996) F.3d 1381

Permission from the copyright owner should be obtained when using excerpts of copyrighted work to create anthologies or “course packs,” even if the excerpts fall under the definitions in the “fair use” doctrine.

Online Courses

The TEACH (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization) Act;
U.S. Code 17, Copyright Act, Sections 110(2) and 112

The Teach Act provides instructors greater flexibility to use third party copyrighted works in online courses.  An individual assessment will be required to determine whether a given use is protected under the Act.  The following criteria are generally required:

  • The online instruction is mediated by an instructor.
  • The transmission of the material is limited to receipt by students enrolled in the course.
  • Technical safeguards are used to prevent retention of the transmission for longer than the class session.
  • The performance is either of a non-dramatic work or a “reasonable and limited portion” of any other work that is comparable to that displayed in a live classroom session.
  • The work is not a textbook, course pack, or other material typically purchased or acquired by students for their independent use and retention, including commercial works that are sold or licensed for the purposes of digital distance education.
  • Rogue Community College does not know, or have reason to know, that the copy of the work was not lawfully made or acquired.
  • Rogue Community College notifies students that the works may be subject to copyright protection and that they may not violate the legal rights of the copyright holder.

Obtaining Permission to Use Copyrighted Material

The RCC Library subscribes to many proprietary databases and information services. Certain copyright restrictions, such as making multiple print copies, may still be in effect. Rogue Community College librarians are available to assist in locating and linking to material in subscription databases that is already licensed for RCC use and can answer any copyright questions you may have.
For use of copyrighted materials that do not fall under fair use, permission to use the material must be obtained from the copyright holder. Permission can generally be acquired via the Copyright Clearance Center ( There are fees associated with this service.  The Rogue Community College bookstore can assist with obtaining materials through the Copyright Clearing Center.

Rescinds Procedure Number: AP-007

Approved:  June 4, 2019

Accreditation reference updated January 27, 2020