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Copyright at Carroll Community College

This guide will provide information on the College's copyright policy, procedures, and links to additional information.

Fair Use of printed materials

In general, for all formats including print, use no more of the original than is required to meet your learning objectives.  In some cases, the complete text of the original may be fair use if it is required to meet the learning objectives.

The following are general guidelines with regard to copying of print materials for instruction:

  • make sure that copies are made from legally purchased or licensed originals.  For example, use legal copies of a book or journal owned by the Library or faculty member.
  • In general, faculty may photocopy articles to hand out in class or make available on Canvas. Classroom copying cannot be used to replace texts or workbooks used in the classroom. The number of copies cannot exceed more than one copy per pupil. And a notice of copyright must be affixed to each copy. 
  • articles, ebooks, and online content that are included in Library databases are licensed for educational use and distribution to students/faculty.  Work with librarians to determine if instructional materials are available through a Library database.  Librarians can assist with identifying the persistent link to articles which can be placed within a Canvas course site.
  • include the copyright notice appearing on the original and appropriate citations/attributions to the source on the copies.
  • as a rough guideline, if faculty need to use lengthy works for educational purposes limit the materials copied to single articles or chapters from longer works or smaller selections from shorter works.
  • limit distribution to enrolled students in your class.
  • In order to include copyrighted materials in a course pack, faculty need to seek permission to use the materials from the copyright owner.
  • student or faculty copying of materials for individual learning and research is considered to be fair use.
  • if the same photocopied materials are to be used every semester, permission from the copyright owner should be sought.
  • if possible, use open-access materials such as those identified with Creative Commons licensing.
  • photocopying in order to substitute for an anthology is to be avoided. 
  • faculty may reproduce poems fully or partially and make them available to students for instructional use as photocopies or through Canvas. If it aligns with learning objectives, limit copying of long poems to the portions actually taught unless it is the full poem being taught. Selections of poems should not substantially duplicate those of existing, commercially available anthologies or textbooks.

Reproduction guidelines

The following guidelines have been widely accepted by the educational community.  However,  they are not codified laws and there may be instances in which copying in an educational setting does not fall within the guidelines below but is nonetheless permitted under fair use.  "Faculty members needing to exceed these limits for college education should not feel hampered by these guidelines, although they should attempt "selective and sparing" use of copyrighted materials" (Russell 138).  In particular, the notion of spontaneity and reuse over multiple semesters has been called into question.  The guidelines do not cover academic coursepacks. To use copyrighted material in academic coursepacks, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or a licensing agent.


    A single copy of the following items may be made for a teacher's scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
    1. A chapter or chapters from a book (but not the majority of or the whole book).
    2. An article or articles from a periodical or newspaper but not the entire periodical or multiple copies from the same periodical over time.
    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 more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for a teacher giving a 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) an excerpt of not more than 250 words from a longer poem.
  2. Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words or (b) an excerpt from any prose work provided the excerpt is not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, and 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 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 are intended for children and/or a more general audience fall short of 2,500 words in length. Such "special works" may not be reproduced in their entirety. However, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages and not more than 10% of the words found in the text 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, newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.)


  1. Copying shall not be used to create, 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 are reproduced and used separately.
  2. There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be "consumable" in the course of study or teaching – such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, test booklets and answer sheets.
  3. Copying shall not:
    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.
  4. No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.

Russell, Carrie. Complete Copyright for K-12 Librarians and Educators. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. Print.