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Copyright for Faculty: Copying Materials

Best Practices When Copying Materials for Classroom Use

Classroom Copies refer to copies of created works such as journal articles, chapters of books, etc. As a general rule of thumb, it is always a best practice to link directly to electronic resources as stated in the Posting Materials in Canvas and Best Practices tabs.


Manchester librarians are not the copyright police, nor are we legal experts in copyright. It is our responsibility to provide resources, but not advice in regards to what you can and cannot do in your courses. Interpretation of copyright law is up to the individual, though Manchester's legal council may be able to provide further assistance.

1. Guidelines for Single Copies

A single copy may be made of any of the following by a single professor for his or her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparing to teach a class:

information icon imagea single chapter from a book
information icon imagea single article from a periodical or newspaper
information icon imagea short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work
information icon imagea chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper

2. Guidelines for Multiple Copies

Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per student in a course) may be made by a professor teaching the course for classroom use or discussion, provided that:

information icon imagethe copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity
information icon imagethe copying meets the cumulative effect test
information icon imageeach copy includes a notice of copyright and the appropriate citations and attributions

3. Brevity, Spontaneity, and Cumulative Effect

Poetry: 1) a complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on no more than 2 pages or, 2) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.

Prose: 1) a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or 2) an excerpt from any prose work of no more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work (whichever is less). In either case, a minimum of 500 words.
NOTE: any of the above limits may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or prose paragraph.

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

1) The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher.

2) 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
1) Copying of the material is for only ONE course in which the copies are made.

2) Not more than 1 short poem, article, story, essay or 2 excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than 3 from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.

3) No more than 9 instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term. 
NOTE: limitations stated in 1) and 2) shall not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.

Content excerpted directly from the Conference Report to the 1976 Copyright Act. For more information, refer to the document titled, Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians (Circular 21).

4. Copyright Notice

The following copyright notice is added to all interlibrary loan articles (which are for single use of an individual only) and can be added to copies referenced in the Guidelines for Multiple Copies section of this tab.

Copyright Notice

This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code). The journal article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, or distribution in any form to anyone is not permitted.