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University Libraries

University Libraries

University Libraries

Fair Use & Copyright

Fair USE and Copyright Statement

Under U.S. copyright law, the creators of original works own the copyright in their works as soon as they are fixed in a tangible form. (17 U.S. Code § 102). Creators have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, adapt, perform, and display their work. (17 U.S. Code § 106). Copyright law includes some exceptions to those exclusive rights, including fair use (17 U.S. Code § 107).

The Libraries' collections, including electronic content, must be used in accordance with specific subscription/license agreements between the University Libraries and vendors.

The University of Denver Libraries comply with copyright laws and fair use guidelines.

We expect that DU community members who place items in Canvas, on reserve through the Libraries, or in CourseMedia have made appropriate arrangements in this regard.

Fair Use Guidelines

A determination of Fair Use must be based on Section 107 of the United States Copyright Act, which states: "Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is fair use, the factors to be considered shall include:

1.The purpose and character of the use, including whether such useis of a commercial nature, or is for non-profit educational use;

2.The nature of the copyrighted work; 

3.The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

4.The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."

Fair Use Policies for Reserves 


We will post one or two chapters of a book on electronic reserves. If the percentage of any title requested is over 20%, we will try to purchase an electronic version of the book, and make a link to that from E-Reserves. If we can't find an electronic version of the book, then we will put the print book on physical reserves for students to check out. We recommend you work with the bookstore so that students can purchase the book if a large portion of the book will be used.

Journal Articles

For all articles in journals licensed by University Libraries, we will create a link to the article online. If we do not have an online version of the article, we will post a scanned copy on e-reserve. One article from an issue of a journal is fair use, but two articles will require a permission request and copyright fees, which University Libraries will cover. For more than two articles from a single issue, we will either put the paper volume on physical reserves, or ask you to work with the bookstore to create a course-pack for purchase.

Consecutive Use

When you use the same readings for the same courses in consecutive quarters, we need to process these for copyright permissions in order to post your readings on e-reserves. We will do this for you, and we will cover the permission fees. Consecutive quarter postings can become very expensive and we recommend that rather than putting materials on e-reserve two or more quarters in a row, that you work with the bookstore to create course-packs for purchase.

Video/Audio Content

In order to provide video/audio content from DU CouseMedia in Canvas, faculty must use licensed streaming services from the Libraries (e.g. Kanopy, Swank, Alexander Street), or, in the case of converted DVD, VHS, CD, etc., either acquire permission from the copyright holder or certify that the material to be copied qualifies as Fair Use. When in doubt, if the material was converted from a DVD, CD, VHS, etc., faculty should make sure to identify the portion of the work that is relevant to the lesson objectives and create a clip of that segment for students to view or listen to. Use the least amount that meets the educational need.

Additional Resources

Reserves Services
How to Use Copyrighted Materials in Canvas
Guide to Using Films in Classes