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Course Reserves Copyright FAQ

General Copyright Statement Regarding Course Reserve

Copyrighted materials made available via course reserve are for use in class, related course study outside of class, and course research. The use of copyrighted materials in all formats, including the creation, online delivery, and use of digital copies of copyrighted materials submitted for course reserve, must be in compliance with U.S. copyright law and the policy outlined herein.

Access to Materials

Physical materials requested to be placed on course reserve will be made available in the library.

For online course readings and content, faculty should utilize the online learning management system, Canvas.

Within the online learning management system, Canvas, faculty may create and embed links to materials provided by the library's electronic collections, except where license agreement restrictions apply. The library can provide guidance on copyright.

What Can and Cannot be Placed on Course Reserve

The following may be placed physically on course reserve at the library:

  • Entire works or sections of works that are in the public domain.
  • Entire works or sections of works by the U.S. government.
  • Entire books in their original (hard copy) format, made available within the library.
  • Portions of books, journal issues, and other print resources that meet a reasonable determination of fair use. (See Fair Use Analysis of Course Reserve below.)
  • Instructor's notes, quizzes, tests, and other materials created for course instruction by the instructor.
  • Other materials for which the instructor holds the copyright.
  • Copyrighted materials for which the instructor has obtained appropriate permission.
  • Models, equipment and manipulatives that do not require special storage or training.

Amounts of materials intended for course reserve are limited to those normally required as course assignments. Library staff reserve the right to refuse materials if, in their judgment, the requested materials and intended use would exceed fair use or otherwise constitute copyright infringement. The following are examples of materials that could possibly infringe copyright and would not normally be permitted for course reserve:

  • Consumable works (e.g., workbooks)
  • Textbooks
  • Practice tapes
  • Commercial anthologies (or use of other publications to substantially replicate an anthology normally purchased by students)
  • Course packs
  • Works that replicate an excessive portion of a copyrighted work, including anthologies
  • Works prohibited by licensing restrictions (i.e. Harvard Business Publishing Case Studies)
  • Interlibrary loan materials or items owned by other libraries, including OSU-Stillwater Libraries.

Ownership of Materials

Copyrighted materials used is course reserve must be legally owned in their original format by one of the following:

  • The OSU-Tulsa Library
  • An Oklahoma State University Academic department
  • The course instructor


  • be the subject of an appropriate license granted to OSU-Tulsa for that purpose.


  • Materials in the public domain or produced by the U.S. government do not need to be owned by the library, university or instructor.
  • Copyrighted materials that are needed for immediate, spontaneous use may be placed on reserve while a good faith effort is made to lawfully acquire the material. Such items may not be re-used in subsequent semesters.
  • If the instructor obtains permission from the copyright owner(s) to use a work for course reserve. Library staff may ask for proof that permission has been granted.
  • If the instructor has made a reasonable attempt to identify the copyright owner(s) in order to obtain permission, but is unable to do so, s/he should consult with library staff to determine whether the material is eligible for use in course reserve. Library staff may ask for proof that attempts to locate the copyright owner(s) have been unsuccessful.

Reproduction of Materials

Course-related materials are placed on reserve at the request of the course instructor. Library staff will reproduce or provide access in the library. Library staff will not reproduce or share files for any other purpose. Library staff reserve the right to refuse materials for course reserve if, in their judgment, the request would exceed fair use or otherwise constitute copyright infringement. All reproductions will display the appropriate copyright notice or be accordingly stamped.

Fair Use Analysis

The OSU-Tulsa Library bases its course-reserve practices and decisions on the fair use doctrine embodied in Section 107 of the U.S. copyright law (17 U.S.C. § 107). The following four-factor analysis outlines the libraries' general fair-use assessment regarding course reserve service. However, individual course and related course reserve materials must also be independently considered to ensure that they fall under a reasonable determination fo fair use.

First factor: the purpose and character of the use.

  • The OSU-Tulsa Library implements course reserve in support of its nonprofit educational purposes.

Second factor: the nature of the work to be used.

  • Course Reserve includes text materials, both factual and creative.
  • Course Reserve also serves the interests of faculty and students who study music, film, art and images.
  • OSU-Tulsa Library staff take the character of the materials into consideration in the overall balancing of interests.

Third factor: The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation  to the materials as a whole.

  • The OSU-Tulsa staff considers the relationship of the amount and/or substantiality of the portion used to the whole of the copyright owner's work.
  • Because the amount that a faculty member assigns depends on many factors, such as relevance to the teaching objective and the overall amount of material assigned, OSU-Tulsa Library staff may also consider whether the amount is appropriate to support the lesson or make the point. Library staff reserve the right to refuse materials for course reserve if in their judgment the request would exceed fair use or otherwise constitute copyright infringement.

Fourth factor: The effect of the use on the market for or value of the work.

  • The OSU-Tulsa Library provides limited access to course reserves to students enrolled in the particular course(s) for which the material is assigned, and to instructors and assistants for that course.
  • The OSU-Tulsa Library will determine if use violates authors' and publishers' rights and is in violation of copyright.

Expedited Service

Faculty may be able to expedite the processing of course reserve materials by taking the following steps:

  • Use works that are in the public domain or are open access.
  • Request materials in their original hardcopy format where possible.
  • Include the title page and copyright notice from each work.
  • Provide written permission from copyright owner(s) when lengthy portions of copyrighted materials are requested for reproduction.
  • Limit the amount of material requested from a book to one (1) chapter or 15%, whichever is greater.
  • Limit the amount of material requested from a journal issue to one (1) article of 15%, whichever is greater.

Materials that exceed these suggestions will be reviewed by library staff, as time and processing procedures permit, for inclusion in course reserve in light of the four factors of fair use to limit the university's liability for possible copyright infringement.