Below are guidelines for Fair Use of copied material in the classroom as put forth by following: United States. House of Representatives Copyright Law Revision. 94th Cong., 2nd sess. Report 94-1476. Washington: GPO, 1976., pp. 68-69.
Current news articles from newspapers or magazines may be copied and distributed in their entirety without limitation provided they pertain to classroom instruction.
Fair Use favors the copying of non-fictional material over fiction and literature.
“I want to photocopy a short story from an anthology, and give my students copies so they can write an essay on it for an assignment. Is that legal?”
Following the suggested guidelines from the U.S. House of Representatives quoted above this would be considered Fair Use if the item were 2500 words or less, and the inspiration to do this was “spontaneous” and you do no more than one item from an individual author and no more than 9 such “spontaneous” instances of copying in a semester per class.
“I want to give my students a photocopy of an article about the economy that was in the New York Times today. Can I do that?”
Following the suggested guidelines from the U.S. House of Representatives quoted above this would be considered Fair Use. This would be an example of spontaneity.
“Can my students make multiple copies of a poem from a library book to hand out in class? They are going to do presentations on a poem and I want everyone else to read the poem they chose.”
Copying in the library generally allows one copy for personal research use. Following the suggested guidelines from the U.S. House of Representatives quoted above this would be considered Fair Use if the poem is 250 words or less, and prints out to 2 pages or less a copy can be made and distributed. Another more appropriate option would be to put the book on reserve and require the students to come in and make their own copies.
· Poetry: (a) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or (b) an excerpt of not more than 250 words from a longer poem.
· Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words or (b) an excerpt from any prose work provided the excerpt is not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, and 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 an unfinished prose paragraph.)
· Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.
· "Special" works: Certain works in poetry, prose or "poetic prose" which often combine language with illustrations and are intended for children and/or a more general audience fall short of 2,500 words in length. Such "special works" may not be reproduced in their entirety. However, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages and not more than 10% of the words found in the text may be reproduced.
· The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and
· 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.
· The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
· Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
· No more than nine instances of multiple copying for one course during one class term.
· Copying cannot be done to create compilations from different sources, (i.e., coursepacks) which would substitute for textbooks.
· Copying of “consumables” – worksheets, test booklets, etc. – is not allowed.
· Copying cannot be done to substitute for purchasing of books.
· Copying of the same item may not be repeated by the same instructor semester after semester.
· No charge can be made to the student except the cost of the photocopying.