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Copyright Guidelines

As an institution devoted to the creation, discovery, and dissemination of knowledge to serve the public, the University of Maryland Libraries are committed to complying with all applicable laws regarding intellectual property. That commitment includes the full exercise of the rights accorded to users of copyrighted works under the "Fair Use" provision of federal copyright law. The University of Maryland Libraries also respect the rights of the creators of intellectual property and always execute due diligence in respecting those rights. It therefore is the policy of the University of Maryland Libraries to facilitate the exercise in good faith of full Fair Use rights by faculty, librarians, and staff, in furtherance of their teaching, research, and service activities.

In support of this philosophy, the following guidelines have been developed for making materials available through electronic course reserves.

  1. Prerequisites to Posting Electronic Reserve Materials: University Libraries will make materials available through a course e-reserve only at the request of the instructor. The materials should be related to the educational goals of the course. Either the University or the instructor must own a lawful copy of the materials to be included in the course e-reserve.
  2. Access: The ELMS course management system limits access to e-reserves for a particular course to students enrolled in that course, the instructor and a course administrator. Students are not charged to access course e-reserves.
  3. What materials may be posted: Materials may be made available through electronic reserves consistent with copyright law; e.g., when:
    1. copyright of the materials is owned by the instructor (e.g., course syllabi, reading lists, lectures) or the University (works required to be prepared under sponsored research agreements, University committee reports); or
    2. the materials have entered the public domain (see: When Works Enter the Public Domain) or are not protected by copyright (e.g. works created by federal government employees in the scope of their employment); or
    3. the owner of copyright has given permission for the materials to be made available through e-reserves; or
    4. the materials are made available under a license that authorizes the University to make them available through e-reserves either by linking or copying and posting the material on a course Web site; or
    5. use of the materials qualifies as a "Fair Use" under copyright law.
  4. Fair Use: The instructor should make an initial assessment whether use of particular material qualifies as a fair use. Reserves Staff and/or the Office of Legal Affairs are available to assist. If fair use does not apply and a third party holds copyright on the material, permission must be obtained before posting the materials to course e-reserves.

    The fair use determination requires consideration of four factors: the purpose of the use, the nature of the material, the amount of the material to be posted, and the effect on the market of posting the material. A brief discussion of each factor follows.

    1. Purpose of the Use: This factor will weigh in favor of a finding of fair use if the material to be posted serves specific educational goals for the course and students are not charged a fee to access the materials.
    2. Nature of the Material: This factor is more likely to weigh in favor of a finding of fair use when the material is predominantly factual in nature (e.g., scientific articles or textbooks) and/or has been published. It is more likely to tip against a finding of fair use when the material is largely creative in nature (e.g., short stories, poems, music, etc.) or has not been published. Consumable materials such as workbooks and pre-packaged lab books may not be posted.
    3. Amount of Material: This factor tips in favor of fair use when less than the entire work is reproduced for the course e-reserve. For example, posting a limited portion of a larger work (an article or two from a journal, a chapter from a book, several illustrations or poems from a collection, or selections from a musical work) is generally permissible. Entire books or journals and entire performances of operas and similar performances should not be posted.
    4. Effect on the Market of Posting Material: If the first three factors weigh in favor of fair use and the original material is out of print or otherwise not available, the copyright owner cannot be located, or there is no established market or mechanism for obtaining permission, this factor will weigh in favor of fair use. If the first three factors weigh against fair use, and there is an established market or mechanism for obtaining copyright permission, this factor is likely to tip against a finding of fair use.

    Images should always be limited to "thumbnails."

    The University Libraries reserve the right to refuse to post materials it believes do not comply with copyright law.

  5. Posting Requirements: The following copyright information should be included in each course e-reserve:

    1. Warning: Users should view the following notice before viewing the e-reserve:

      "NOTICE: The materials provided in this E-reserve may be protected by copyright law. (Title 17 US Code) You may print a copy of course e-reserve materials for your personal study, reading, research, or education. Reproducing, distributing, modifying and/or making derivative works based on the materials posted to this e-reserve for any other purposes may be an infringement of the owner's copyright and subject you to civil and criminal liability as well as potential action by the University."

    2. Attributions: The following information will be included with each posting:
      1. When the original work includes a copyright notice, that copyright notice will be included with the material posted on e-reserve. The following format may be used: "The work from which this [article, photograph, etc.] is taken includes the following notice of copyright: insert original copyright notice." and
      2. Appropriate bibliographic information.
  6. Removal of Materials: In compliance with copyright guidelines, the University Libraries will delete all materials on e-reserves at the conclusion of the course. A copy of the materials may be retained for students who need continued access to complete the course.

For assistance, contact Reserves Staff at your library branch. For more information about fair use, visit the Stanford University Libraries Web site on Fair Use or the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University.

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