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Copyright Resource Guide: Copyright: Where do you start?

A guide that provides direction and resources to faculty with regards to the application of the Teach Act, and to students with regard to intellectual property and photocopying.

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Starting out...

What resources are you using to write papers? With students in the classroom?

Remember that everything on the Internet is not public domain. See the Public Domain Research Guide for more information about that. If you are specifically interested in plagiarism, See our Plagiarism Guide

Are you using a book, periodical or website?

If so, you must list them in your references/bibliography and cite authors whose information you are using in your papers or presentations

Do you need to make photocopies out of books, periodicals or websites?

If so, start out by looking at our “What is Fair Use?” Research Guide which links to fair use guidelines

Are you using media in your classroom or on blackboard?

See the Research guide on this website about “Copyright and Blackboard”


Guidelines for lawfully acquired copyrighted works that can be used according to Fair Use as indicated by the US Copyright Office:


Books and Media

Amount Suggested to meet Fair Use


Up to 10% or 3 minutes or less



Interlibrary Loan Articles

Up to 10% or 1000 words or less 
1 chapter out of 10 chapter book

No more than 3 articles per year from the same periodical title

No more than 1 article per periodical issue

Music/Lyrics/Music Video

Up to 10%, but no more than 30 seconds


No more than 5 images from a single artist;
10% of a published collective works, but no more than 15 works

Data Sets (databases)

Up to 10% or 2500 fields, whichever is less


Guidelines for Evaluating Copyright Materials 



Favors Fair Use

Opposes Fair Use






Creator not credited




Favors Fair Use

Opposes Fair Use

Published work

Unpublished Work



Important to educational objective



Favors Fair Use

Opposes Fair Use

Small Quantity

Large portion or whole work used

Portion not central to entire work

Using most significant portion of work


Favors Fair Use

Opposes Fair Use

User purchased original copy of work

Could replace sale of work

One or few copies made

Numerous copies made

No significant effect on the market for the work

Impairs market potential of the work or derivatives

No similar product marketed (such as – no individual electronic chapter of the book is available for purchase)

Portion used could be easily purchased

Restricted Access

Posted to open web


Repeated or long-term use

Checklist available at


 (Guidelines copied with permission from the SJSU Copyright Libguides)


Library Guru

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Danielle O'Barto
Gangwish Library
Ottawa University
1001 S. Cedar St.
Ottawa, KS 66067

Copyright Exceptions Tool and Circular 21