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Copyright Information and Guidelines

This guide for the Bentley University community presents information on copyright and provides guidance in evaluating the use of copyrighted material in higher education and scholarship.

Classroom Guidelines

From the view of publishers...

During the discussions leading to the enactment of the 1976 Copyright Act, the following guidelines were introduced by a group of educators and publishers. The purpose of these guidelines is to help educators interpret the fair use provisions relating to classroom copying for educational use. These guidelines are not part of the copyright legislation nor are they legally binding. It is worth noting that the participation of various stakeholders, including publishers, has rendered these guidelines very restrictive. As Kenneth Crews notes, "The guidelines unquestionably displace the law with a standard that is a departure from the statute in many respects...and may well offer more certainty, but they still raise their own questions and pose their own problems for application".

Source: Copyright Clearance Center

Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-For-Profit Educational Institutions
with Respect to Books and Periodicals

Published in House Report 94-1476

The purpose of the following guidelines is to state the minimum and not the maximum standards of educational fair use under § 107 of H.R. 2233.  The parties agree that the conditions determining the extent of permissible copying for educational purposes may change in the future; that certain types of copying permitted under these guidelines may not be permissible in the future; and conversely that in the future other types of copying not permitted under these guidelines may be permissible under revised guidelines.

Moreover, the following statement of guidelines is not intended to limit the types of copying permitted under the standards of fair use under judicial decision and which are stated in § 107 of the Copyright Revision Bill.  There may be instances in which copying which does not fall within the guidelines stated below may nonetheless be permitted under the criteria of fair use.

* Guidelines *


A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for his or her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

    A.  A chapter from a book;
    B.  An article from a periodical or newspaper;
    C.  A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
    D.  A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.


 Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion; provided that:

    A. The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below:
    B.  Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below; and,
    C. Each copy includes a notice of copyright.



    i.  Poetry: (a) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or (b) from a longer
        poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.

    ii.  Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work
        of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.

        [Each of the numerical limits stated in "i" and "ii" above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished
        line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph.]

    iii. Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.

    iv. "Special" works: Certain works in poetry, prose or in "poetic prose" which often combine language with illustrations
        and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience fall short of 2,500
        words in their entirety.  Paragraph "ii" above notwithstanding such "special works" may not be reproduced in their
        entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and
        containing not more than 10% of the words found in the text thereof, may be reproduced.


    i. The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and

    ii. The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are
        so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative Effect:

    i. The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.

    ii. Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, not
        more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.

    iii. There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term.

    [The limitations stated in "ii" and "iii" above shall not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current
    news sections of other periodicals.]


Notwithstanding any of the above, the following shall be prohibited:

    A.   Copying shall not be used to create or to replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works.
          Such replacement or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts therefrom are
          accumulated or are reproduced and used separately.

    B.   There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be "consumable" in the course of study or of teaching.
          These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets and like
           consumable material.

    C.   Copying shall not:

          a.   substitute for the purchase of books, publishers’ reprints or periodicals;
          b.   be directed by high authority;
          c.   be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.

    D.  No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.


  March 19, 1976


        By  Sheldon Elliott Steinbach
       By Irwin Karp, Counsel
      By Alexander C. Hoffman, Chairman Copyright Committee

Codes of Best Practices for Fair Use

From the view of educators...

Listed below are various Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use. These were developed through multiple partnerships at The Center for Social Media to address the specific research and pedagogical needs of particular areas of study that include general scholarship, media literacy, film, visual arts, music and poetry. The result of recent efforts by educators, scholars and librarians to reclaim fair use and to establish a more reasonable approach to the implementation of the fair use doctrine, these codes should be consulted when appropriate and in concert with previously established guidelines to facilitate a thorough evaluation of the use of copyrighted material.

Source: The Center for Social Media

Academia and Scholarship

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries (2012)

Association of Research Libraries

The result of an extensive survey of library professionals, this is a code of best practices in fair use devised specifically by and for the academic and research library community. It identifies eight situations that represent the library community's current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials and describes a carefully derived consensus within the library community about how those rights should apply in certain recurrent situations. (Center for Social Media)

For more information:


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare (2009)

Committee of Practioners of OpenCourseWare in the United States

This code of best practices was drafted with input from representatives of seven OCW producers--Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Notre Dame University, Tufts University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan, and ccLearn, the education division of Creative Commons--as well as by representatives from Yale University. It was grounded in interviews with 23 OCW makers at 18 U.S. institutions. This code of best practices is designed to help those preparing OpenCourseware (OCW) to interpret and apply fair use under United States copyright law and is a guide to current best practices for the use of copyrighted material in OCW, drawing on the actual activities of educational staff who prepare courses for distribution. (Center for Social Media)

For more information:,


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication (2009)

International Communications Association

Created by a committee of communication scholars within the International Communication Association, this document is a code of best practices that helps U.S. communication scholars to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. This guide identifies four situations that represent the current consensus within the community of communication scholars about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials. (Center for Social Media)

For more information:


Media Literacy

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education (2011)

Center for Social Media

Created after convening ten meetings with more than 150 members of leading educational associations and other educators across the United States, this document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. This guide identifies five principles that represent the media literacy education community's current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K-12 education, in higher education, in nonprofit organizations that offer programs for children and youth, and in adult education. (Center for Social Media)

For more information:,,



Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Teaching for Film and Media Educators (2007)

Society of Cinema and Media Studies

Developed after surveying over 600 educators, this statement of best practices aims to clarify some of the issues concerning the permissible use of media for teaching. Among the goals of this statement is to provide practical assistance to film and media educators in determining whether a particular use of a work is permissible and to formalize customary practices that over time can help guide courts in determing what types of users are generally accepted as non-infringing by film and media educators. (Center for Social Media)

For more information:


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video (2008)

Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, Center for Social Media

A distinguished panel of experts, drawn from cultural scholarship, legal scholarship, and legal practice, developed this code of best practices, informed by research into current personal and nonprofessional video practices ("user-generated video") and on fair use. This code is designed to assist creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in making online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. (Center for Social Media)

For more information:,


Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use (2005)

Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, Independent Feature Project, International Documentary Association, national Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, Women in Film and Video (Washington, D.C., chapter)

In consultation with the Center for Social Media in the School of Communication at American University and the Program on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest in the Washington College of Law at American University, this statement of best practices in fair use makes clear what documentary filmmakers currently regard as reasonable application of the copyright "fair use" to help filmmakers use it with confidence, and is informed both by experience and ethical principles. It also draws on analogy: documentary filmmakers should have the same kind of access to copyrighted materials that is enjoyed by cultural and historical critics who work in print media and by news broadcasters. (Center for Social Media)

For more information:


Visual Arts

Statement of the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study (2011)

Visual Resources Association

Drafted by members of the VRA's Intellectual Property Rights Committee, this statement draws significantly on the guidance and expertise of the VRA's Legal Advisory Committee members. The aim of this document is to provide general guidance to educational and scholarly users of images - and to others who help facilitate those educational and scholarly uses - so that they can rely on fair use with greater certainty when employing these practices and principles. (Center for Social Media)

For more information:



Best Practices in the Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials in Music Scholarship (2010)

American Musicological Society

Written over a period of several years by an ad hoc committee of the AMS Council, and formally adopted by the Board of Directors, this code of best practices identifies eight situations that represent the AMS's current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials in relation to music scholarship. This includes guidance in the use of printed music, lyrics, musical recordings, and transcriptions of recordings or live performances.

For more information:



Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry (2011)

Center for Social Media, School of Communication, American University, Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, The Poetry Foundation, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, Washington College of Law, American University

Poets working in traditional forms and those exploring new media were both strongly represented in small group discussions, revealing a shared belief in copyright as an important source of protection for poets and in the importance of access to copyrighted material as a factor in enabling learning and new creativity. The resulting code of best practices is meant as an aid in interpreting the copyright doctrine of fair use as it applies to creating and quoting poetry. This guide identifies seven situations that represent the poetry community's consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials. (Center for Social Media)

 For more information:,