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About Copyright

The library seeks to support the information needs of faculty and staff at West Virginia Wesleyan College by providing access to resources to support teaching and learning, both in the classroom and beyond it. In accordance with the American Library Association, the library supports and encourages best practices for copyright and information use in teaching and learning through policies which balance the principles of educational fair use with respect for the intellectual property of others.

Course reserves, electronic reserves, and interlibrary loan are all structured in such a way as to allow library staff to support faculty and students in ethical information use and to provide assistance in requesting copyright permissions as needed for teaching and learning use.

While we are not legal experts, we can offer advice and guidance on best practices for copyright in the classroom.  Email for assistance with copyright questions.

Section 107 of the Federal Copyright Law Revision of 1978 provides that "fair use" of a copyrighted work, including use by reproduction in copies, for purposes such as "teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."   

The four statutory criteria used to determine whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use include: 

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational uses
  • The nature of copyrighted work
  • The amount or portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. 

Multiple copying for classroom use cannot exceed the number of students in a class; must meet strict tests of brevity, spontaneity, and non-cumulative effect; and must include a notice of copyright.  

"Brevity" is defined in strict and arbitrary volume terms, e.g., no more than 250 words from a poem, between 500 and 1000 words of prose, but up to 2,500 words of a complete article.  "Spontaneity" is defined as a situation in which an individual's decision to copy and use the material is made so close to the date of intended use that a timely reply to a request for permission to copy could not be reasonably expected.  "Cumulative effect" limits copying of a given item by each instructor to only one course in the school, not more than nine instances of multiple copying for one course during one class term, and not more than one item from the same author nor three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.  Under the guidelines, copies may not be 

  • used as a substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works
  • made of "consumables" such as workbooks
  • a substitute for purchases
  • directed by higher authority
  • repeated with respect to the same item by the same instructor from term to term
  • the subject of a charge to the student beyond actual copying cost.

Course Reserves

The library’s course reserve service is available to all full and part time faculty and instructional staff.

Instructors can request that original materials – books, videos, CDs – be placed on course reserve for use by their students.  These materials may be either personal copies or library materials.  The library  generally will not place materials belonging to other institutions – interlibrary books, Netflix DVDs, etc. -  on course reserves.  

For instructors using only small segments of a larger work, the library also offers photocopy and electronic reserve services.   Photocopy and scanning options are governed by the ALA best practice recommendations for fair use in teaching and learning.

These guidelines include

  • No more than 10% of a work can be copied or scanned for reserve use
  • One copy for every fifteen students in a class
  • No more than three copies per course
  • Each copy or scanned file must carry copyright identification, generally complete bibliographic information, and the following statement: NOTICE: This material may be  protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code)
  • Copies used for multiple semesters, unless available through the library’s print or electronic collections, require copyright permission.  The library will pay reasonable copyright fees for materials.

Reserve requests that are not in compliance with copyright guidelines will not be processed by library staff.  

We recognize, however, that faculty may choose to scan and upload materials to the institutional CMS themselves.  Please be aware that such uploading is still subject to copyright law.  Instructors who do not follow copyright best practice may run the risk of exposing themselves and the institution to legal liability for copyright infringement.

Copying of Media Materials

One of the unfortunate issues with media materials and evolving technology is that it can become difficult and/or expensive to continually update course resources to new formats.  While the technology to copy older media materials to new formats, such as converting VHS recordings to DVD or cassette recordings to CD exists, the use of this technology at the institutional level must be in compliance with copyright guidelines.  

If the material is commercially available in the newer format, copyright requires that we purchase a new copy, even when we own the older format.  We could not, for example, convert a VHS copy of The Godfather to DVD because that film is available on DVD for commercial sale.  The library will make reasonable efforts to fulfill faculty requests for purchasing media materials for course use when materials are commercially available.

When materials are not available for commercial purchase in newer format, copyright law does allow for the creation of preservation copies of older format materials to newer formats.  This can be true of older documentaries, independent or smaller films, or other items not re-released in the new media.  For such copying to be permissible, the following conditions should be met:

  • The material is not available for commercial sale.
  • Reasonable efforts have been made to contact the copyright holder for permission to copy the work.
  • The material to be copied belongs to the institution, not the individual.
  • No more than 3 copies of the material may be made.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan allows members of the Wesleyan community to use resources not available at the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library in their teaching and learning work.  As with other services which include copying intellectual property resources, interlibrary loan services can be limited by copyright compliance.

  • No more than 6 articles may be requested from a single journal in a year.
  • Borrowers of monograph materials may photocopy or scan no more than 10% of the borrowed work.
  • Interlibrary loaned materials may not be used for course reserves, though small portions can be scanned or photocopied for reserves.
Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library
59 College Ave.
Buckhannon, WV 26201