[INLINE] for approval by VT's University Counsel

Copyright Guidelines

Reserve and EReserve

update: Nov. 6, 1998

Copyright homepage

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, US Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions, libraries are authorized to furnish a reproduction, but one of the specified conditions is that the reproduction will not be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.

Because the library is considered an extension of the classroom, access to reserve materials is limited to course and instructors names. Reserve materials are available only for the semester in which the class is taught. When faculty submit someone else's work to Reserve/EReserve, they should preserve the author's name, title of the work, and copyright statement, if there is one. Faculty members may not request that Reserve/EReserve provide access to copies of the same material for successive terms unless they have received the copyright holders' written permission. Availability beyond one term usually gives the instructor enough time to request permission from the copyright holder.

Instructors should not place materials on reserve unless the instructor, the library, or another unit of the university possesses a lawfully obtained copy. The total amount of material on reserve for a class should be a small proportion of the total assigned reading for that class when invoking fair use. Materials are available only to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University community and all are expected to adhere to these copyright and fair use guidelines.

New, and as yet uncodified, interpretations of the copyright law apply to libraries' electronic reserve systems that provide access to online class materials. Therefore, University Libraries Copyright Guidelines apply alike to materials provided through the Newman Library Reserve Desk, to materials available through EReserve, and to reserve materials circulated through the branch libraries.

The guidelines described below apply to all University Libraries' reserve systems and are in compliance with US Code, Title 17. Material submitted which violates any of these regulations will NOT knowingly be made available by the library. Instructors will be notified upon discovery of copyright violations and will result in delayed access to class materials through University Libraries.

Copyright Guidelines Summary


Only one (1) chapter from a book may be placed on reserve unless the instructor received the copyright holder's written permission and acknowledged receipt when submitting materials to reserve. This applies to edited collections of readings and essays because each reading is considered a chapter.

Journals and Newspapers

Only one (1) article from an issue of one journal may be placed on reserve unless the instructor received the copyright holder's written permission and acknowledged receipt when submitting materials to reserve. Newspapers are treated the same as journals.

Multiple Copies

Only one copy of photocopied material is allowed for every 20 students enrolled in a class, or any fraction thereof, but no more than 9 copies per class. The photocopy should contain the copyright statement.

US Government Publications

Most government publications are in the public domain, i.e., they are not copyrighted, allowing unlimited use and reproduction.


These materials are not appropriate for reserve because one of the tenets of fair use is that such use not effect the market value. Consumables include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets, answer sheets, etc.


Custom published anthologies are prepared for sale through local copy centers and bookstores and are, therefore, not appropriate for reserve because one of the tenets of fair use is that such use not effect the market value.

Copyright Acknowledgments

Everyone submitting materials to any of VT University Libraries' reserve systems must agree to the two following statements. If an instructor cannot abide by these guidelines, the library cannot provide access to the course materials without violating the US copyright law (US Code, Title 17) as it pertains to libraries. (For further information, please refer to the US Code Title 17 sect. 108.

  1. I acknowledge having read the VT University Libraries Reserve Copyright Guidelines and agree that the materials I submit to any VT University Libraries' reserve system are in compliance with this interpretation of US copyright law.

  2. When required, I received written permission from the copyright holder to provide access to the materials I am submitting to any VT University Libraries' reserve system.

Helpful Advice to Users

Provide guidence to the users of your online class materials by adding a notice similar to this:

These materials are available for the educational purposes of students enrolled in my class at Virginia Tech. These materials are NOT for further reproduction or transmission.

Fair Use Guidelines

As a reader of these documents, you must follow the provisions of fair use; that is, you may make one copy (e.g., download or print) for your personal reading, research, or education. Any other use without permission from the copyright holder is illegal. You must not use any of these documents to mislead others about the views or competence of the author, nor as part of a commercial product. Any copy that is made should preserve the author's name, the title of the document, and a statement of copyright, if there is one. Making multiple copies for republication would violate the spirit of the agreement under which the authors and the University Libraries provide you with access to Electronic Reserve materials.
derived from the US Code, Title 17, Sect. 107

[INLINE] Comments? Questions? Concerns? Contact Gail McMillan, director, Scholarly Communications Project, University Libraries, Virginia Tech, gailmac@vt.edu


[INLINE] Reserve Services EReserve Newman Library Reserve Reading List Form
[INLINE] [Reserve Reading List Database] April 19, 1996, the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) participants drafted an interpretation of Fair-Use Guidelines for Electronic Reserve Systems.

http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/copyright/libcguid.html    (GMc+Committee) updated Nov. 6, 1998 (GMc)