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Copyright and Course Reserves

 Copyright and Course Reserves: Topics Covered

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. This policy does not include Digital Audio Reserve (DAR). See the Digital Audio Reserve Copyright Policy. [top]

Access to Materials

Access to materials placed on course reserve will be provided via the university’s online courseware through library – and university-controlled equipment and networks or by requesting that hard copies (where applicable) be made available within the libraries. Access to Course Reserve is password-protected and restricted to the course instructor(s), teaching assistant(s), and students enrolled either in the course or in a formal independent study with an instructor at the University of Connecticut. Library staff will remove access to reproductions at the end of the requested semester. Reproductions will not be otherwise publicly available. [top]

What Can and Cannot be Placed on Course Reserve

The following may be placed on course reserve:

  • 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 or scores in their original (hard copy) format, made available within the libraries
  • 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

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


Ownership of Materials

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

  • the UConn Library
  • a University of Connecticut department
  • the course instructor


  • be the subject of an appropriate license granted to the University of Connecticut 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. (See reserve request procedures.) Library staff will reproduce, link to, and/or provide access in the library and/or via the university’s online courseware to course reserve materials according to guidelines herein. 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. [top]

Fair Use Analysis

The UConn 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 analysis1 outlines the libraries’ general fair-use assessment regarding course reserve service. However, individual courses and related course reserve materials must also be independently considered to ensure that they fall under a reasonable determination of fair use. See Fair Use Analysis Tools for more details. First factor: The purpose and character of the use.

  • The UConn 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.
  • UConn 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 UConn Library 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, UConn 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 UConn Library limits access to electronic course reserve to students enrolled in the particular course(s) for which the material is assigned, and to instructors and assistants for that course.
  • The UConn Library uses technology to restrict access to help ensure that only registered students and other authorized individuals access electronic content.
  • The UConn Library terminates student access at the end of a relevant semester.


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
  • 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 or 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. [top]