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Library Information a

Contact: Sharon Rienerth

...for questions and assistance with copyright.

“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.” 
  • If you reproduce, republish or redistribute something produced by someone else without the copyright holder’s permission, there’s a good chance that you are violating copyright law. 
  • Publicly available information such as material posted on the Internet is not necessarily free from copyright protection. 
  • If using a copyrighted work for an extended period of time or frequently pulling information from the same source, you or our library should purchase the item.  Library owned material can be used as often as needed for classroom/online teaching
  • Copyright infringement can result in fines and jail time. 
  • The Copyright Act includes specific provisions for the use of copyright-protected materials by academic institutions.

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Fair Use 

Fair use allows unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Consider the following four factors in evaluating a question of fair use:
  • Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes:
  • Nature of the copyrighted work
  • Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  • Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

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  • Providing a link to the electronic resource is the safest way to avoid licensing infringement.  
  • A single photocopy can be “checked-out” to individuals to photocopy.  Materials placed on traditional reserve are available in paper form. You can place purchased materials on reserve without obtaining copyright permission. However, making multiple copies of these materials and placing those copies on reserve does require copyright permission.  


Contact the publisher or author to ask for permission to reuse their work. Keep their response in your file! Here are some key points to mention when asking for permission:
  • The reason you will be using the material.
  • Why you will be using it. Let the copyright holder know you will be using it for educational use. 
  • Provide the beginning and ending dates you will be using the item. 
  • Describe your audience.
  • Ensure the copyright holder you will not be using their work for profit.

Mercy College of Ohio Library |  419-251-1700  | email: