Faculty's use of course reserves provides an important service to their students. A significant part of this service involves creating copies and providing controlled access to those works through the library's course reserve system. It is important for faculty to have a general understanding of their own liability and the university's liability when providing copies for course reserves. The following attempts to provide a general overview of the specific copyright issues related to course reserves.
Copyright only applies to works in a tangible medium or expression and includes text sources such as dictionaries, encylopedias and journals as well as less traditional formats such as computer graphics, databases and computer programs. Copyright notices do not have to be placed on works for it to be in effect. Copyright begins at its creation and applies to published as well as unpublished works.
The "Fair Use" clause in copyright was created as a limited exception in order to encourage the free flow of ideas while maintaining the rights of the original copyright holder. Fair use contains vague and unclear language which can make it difficult to determine how much copying can be done without infringing on copyright. The American Library Association and other organizations have established guidelines for fair use of materials. These guidelines are not the law but are widely accepted minimum standards. The Roger Williams University libraries abide by these guidelines to ensure the university does not engage in copyright infringement. If these guidelines cannot be met, copyright permission must be obtained from the copyright holder in order to place them on reserve.
(source: Copyright Center)
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others:
Any commercially available or an individual’s lawfully created CD, DVD or other multimedia recording may be processed for Reserves. The media resources librarian will review submissions from faculty’s personal collections to ensure copyright compliance. Contact Veronica Maher, Media Resources Librarian (401-254-3114, firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need items ordered or have questions about what media can be placed on reserve.
If permission from the copyright holder will be required, the Copyright Clearance Center can help in obtaining consent. Fees may be associated with all permissions.
Copyright Clearing Center
27 Congress Street
Salem, MA 01970
Please allow time for processing the permissions request. All permissions should be obtained well in advance of when the course reserves are required.