Desktop version

Home arrow Law

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font


<<   CONTENTS   >>

If an instructor owns a copy of a commercially produced video, may she make an additional copy and place that copy in the library for course reserve materials? Does it matter that the video is out of print?

Duplicating videos is pretty clearly copyright infringement, except for preservation by the library under the narrow conditions detailed in sections 108(b) and (c) of the Copyright Act. Imagine that the work was a copy of a book that the faculty member owned. Would it be infringement if the faculty member duplicated the entire book and placed the photocopy on reserve? Yes, it would. It is no different for videos. Reproduction of the work as described in the question is infringement, and out of print does not mean out of copyright.

A professor makes a CD with excerpts of various musical recordings, thereby creating, in essence, a "compilation" or anthology. The professor is unable to identify the sources of most of these recordings. He wants to place these "homemade" CDs on reserve indefinitely (i.e., beyond even an academic year) so that students may listen to them in the library's listening rooms in preparation for aural examinations. May he do so?

The Guidelines for Educational Uses of Music actually permit faculty members to make a single copy of an audio recording of various musical recordings for the purposes of constructing aural exercises. The Music Guidelines are silent about placing the recording on reserve in the library, however. It likely is a fair use to place these recordings on reserve so that students can check them out to review them for the aural exercise. The Music Guidelines are silent about reuse of the compilation recording, so it should not be problematic to use the recordings also in subsequent semesters. It would be preferable if the faculty member remembered the source of these recordings, but for copyright purposes it is not essential.

If an instructor puts on reserve a journal reprint that she purchased, is it permissible to keep it on reserve for more than one semester without copyright permission? Does the first sale doctrine apply?

If the professor paid for the reprint or paid royalties, then the library is not further reproducing it by putting that one reprint on reserve. It is a purchased item just as if the library itself purchases a copy of a book and places it on reserve. Therefore, the one-semester limitation from the ALA Model Policy Concerning College and University Photocopying for Classroom, Research and Library Reserve Use Reserve Guidelines (see unc.edu/~unclng/ ALA-modelpolicy.htm) does not apply. Under the first sale doctrine, found in section 109(a) of the Copyright Act, the owner of a lawfully acquired copy of a work may dispose of that copy however the owner wishes. This would include putting it on reserve in a library but not reproducing it.

A faculty member says, "I don't want the students to have to pay ..." and asks the library to put a copy of the required textbook for his course on reserve. If one cannot make copies of "consumable items," how does a library deal with the textbook on reserve?

According to the legislative history that accompanied the Copyright Act of 1976, a textbook is not defined as a consumable item. Consumables are those works that are "used up" after purchase. Congress gave as examples standardized tests, workbooks, answer keys, and so forth. The school is supposed to purchase copies of consumable works for each student. Textbooks, on the other hand, are not used up by a single student. In fact, a thriving secondhand market exists for used textbooks, and according to the section 109(a) first sale doctrine, one can resell a copy of a lawfully acquired textbook. This first sale doctrine also permits libraries to lend materials, including textbooks.

There are some practical reasons that a single copy of an assigned textbook on reserve is unlikely to be problematic. First, there is a legitimate reason to put a copy of an assigned textbook on reserve: a student may have failed to bring a copy to class and needs to read an assignment at school. Second, as opposed to a standardized test, an entire textbook is unlikely to be photocopied by a user. It is just too labor intensive, the final copy is messy, and most people would prefer to own the book.

Perhaps the faculty member should be reminded that library reserves are not intended to substitute for a student's purchase of a textbook. Students definitely should not be directed to photocopy or scan the textbook that is on reserve. The library could put one copy on reserve as a backup copy, however.

A campus library does not permit textbooks to be placed on reserve. But what about supplemental reading material that is not the assigned text for the course? Much of the supplemental reading material appears to be textbooks, but not the ones assigned by faculty members. If it is required reading, does that mean it is a textbook?

Actually, even assigned textbooks can be placed on reserve as long as they are used as a backup copy for a student who may have forgotten to bring the text to class that day and not in lieu of students actually purchasing the textbook for a course. Some libraries have policies against putting textbooks on reserve, however. Typically, when the term "textbook" is used, it means the assigned text for the course that all students are supposed to buy. But the definition of the term is broader than that. It really means a book that is produced with the intention that it be adopted for use in a course. Certainly, a non-assigned textbook may be placed on reserve for supplemental reading, even if it is assigned reading. Reproducing copies for reserve from a non-assigned textbook should also follow the ALA Reserve Guidelines from the Model Policy Concerning College and University Photocopying for Classroom, Research and Library Reserve Use (see unc.edu/~unclng/ALA-modelpolicy.htm).

Instructors ask the library to copy chapters of supplemental books to put on reserve. How much of a book may be photocopied for reserve? It seems that some instructors ask for different chapters of the same book every week, so that by the end of the semester the library has copied 90% of the book.

Certainly the library could put the original book on reserve without reproducing chapters, but the making of copies as described above has likely moved beyond what would be considered reasonable. Whether the library uses the ALA Reserve Guidelines from the Model Policy Concerning College and University Photocopying for Classroom, Research and Library Reserve Use (see unc.edu/~unclng/

ALA-modelpolicy.htm) or general fair use to make the decision, 90% of the work is too much. Typically the library might reproduce a single chapter, or a few of them if the book has many chapters. In other words, if the book has 45 chapters, reproducing 5 chapters for reserve is a small number. On the other hand, if the book has only 7 chapters, 5 is too many.

If faculty members want to provide copies of 90% of a book to students, they need to either assign it for purchase or put it in a course pack, request permission, and have the students purchase the course pack and pay royalties, which usually are rolled into the price charged to the students. It could also be an electronic course pack, but permission and royalties would still be required. The campus-wide Copyright Clearance Center license covers reproduction both in print and electronic format for both library reserves and course packs.

Engineering and science faculty members create folders of factual, unpublished materials that include their class notes and sample problems, along with solutions for test preparation. These folders are placed on reserve in the library with no expiration date. Are there any restrictions on students copying the material?

Section 102 of the Copyright Act excludes facts from copyright protection. So, the factual material contained in the folders is not copyrightable. On the other hand, the arrangement, organization, indexing, and selection of facts may be copyrightable as a compilation. Mathematical problems typically are not copyrightable but are treated as scientific truths; however, compilations of problems might be. Problems with a great deal of written description (story problems) might be protected as text.

Assume that the material in the folder is copyrightable. If the material is created by the faculty members themselves, then they are the authors of these works. If the faculty authors populate the folders with this material, the only restriction on student copying would be restrictions that the authors themselves place on materials in the folders. There would be no limitation on how many terms the folders could remain on reserve other than ones the authors dictate. The faculty authors are already giving permission by creating the folders and asking that they be put on reserve.

 
<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics