Skip to main content


Policy 8: Copyright

University of Missouri Libraries

General Policy Manual Policy No. 8


  • Scope of Policy
    • This policy establishes guidelines for the University of Missouri Libraries’ (excluding the Law Library) compliance with the United States Copyright Law (Title 17 United States Code, Sect. 101, et seq.)
      • Note: For copyright of computer software, see Policy No. 26.
  • What is Copyright?
    • Copyright protects original works of authorship (literary, musical, graphic, pictorial, audiovisual, choreographic, dramatic, sculptural, architectural) “fixed in any tangible medium of expression, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” The copyright holder has exclusive rights, for a limited time, which are limited by conditions of fair use and other exceptions detailed in the copyright law. Note that publication is not a condition of copyright protection, so dissertations, term papers, class notes, exams, and websites may be protected by copyright.
    • The exclusive rights of the copyright holder as defined in 17 USC 106 are:
      • “to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords”;
      • “to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work”;
      • “to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending”;
      • “in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly”;
      • “in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly”;
      • “in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.” (17 USC 106)
      • In addition, authors of visual art, defined as signed works issued in editions of 200 or less, have rights of attribution and preservation of their work from “intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of that work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation” and “destruction of a work of recognized stature”. (17 USC 106A)
    • Section 107 of Title 17 describes “fair use” of copyrighted works, including copying, “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.” Scholarly use does not constitute fair use per se. The following four factors are weighed in each case to determine if the use is fair:
      • “the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;”
      • “the nature of the copyrighted work;”
      • “the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;”
      • “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”
    • The term of copyright protection is limited.
      • For works created on or after January 1, 1978
        • in general, from creation of the work to 70 years after the author’s death.
        • for joint works, not for hire, for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death.
        • for anonymous or pseudonymous works or works made for hire, for 95 years from the year of first publication, or 120 years from the year of creation, whichever expires first. In the case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, this term may be altered if the identity of the author of the work is later revealed and recorded with the Copyright Office. (17 USC 302)
      • For works created but not published or copyrighted before January 1, 1978
        • in general, the term is the same as for works created on or after January 1, 1978, except that
        • the term shall not expire before December 31, 2002, and
        • if the work is published on or before December 31, 2002, the term shall not expire until December 31, 2047. (17 USC 303)
      • For copyrights in their first term on January 1, 1978
        • in general, coverage endures for 28 years from the date copyright was originally secured.
        • in the case of posthumous works, works for hire, works of corporate authorship, contributions to a periodical, cyclopedic or composite work, coverage endures for 67 years from the date copyright was originally secured.
      • Copyrights in their renewal term on Oct. 27, 1998, have a copyright term of 95 years from the date on which copyright was originally secured. (17 USC 304)
      • For sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, common law or State law may apply, rather than Federal copyright law, until February 15, 2067. (17 USC 301 (c))
    • Works not covered by copyright include the following.
      • Materials procured or made available by license. Contract law takes precedence over copyright law, so any library material provided through a license agreement is subject to the terms of the license, not the provisions of the copyright law. The use of material donated to the Libraries may also be governed by conditions of the gift, which may be more restrictive than copyright law.
      • All U.S. Government publications with the possible exception of some National Technical Information Service Publications less than five years old may be reproduced without restrictions, except to the extent that they contain copyrighted materials from other sources (17 USC 105).
      • Works placed in the public domain.
      • Works with expired copyrights. (See 2.3)
      • Some works published outside of the United States. (See 17 USC 104)
      • A copyright holder may waive all or some of his or her rights. Some journals allow copying for research, educational, and scholarly purposes. Check the title page of the journal in question to see if restrictions on copying have been waived.
  • Copying by the Libraries
    • Section 108 of the copyright law provides certain conditions under which libraries may reproduce copyrighted works, but does not “in any way” affect fair use. (House Report No. 94-1476 as excerpted in U.S. Copyright Office Circular 21: Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians, p. 10.) Section 108 specifically addresses instances of allowable copying, reserve room use and interlibrary loan.
    • These conditions are as follows:
      • Copying and distribution is not for any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage.
      • The library’s collection is open to the public or available to outside researchers.
      • (a) The copy includes the notice of copyright appearing on the original, or if no notice can be found on the original, a legend “stating that the work may be protected by copyright.” Suggested wording is: “The work from which this copy was made did not include a formal copyright notice. Copyright law may protect this work. Uses may be allowed with permission from the rightsholder, or if the copyright on the work has expired, or if the use is “fair use” or within another exemption. The user of this work is responsible for determining lawful uses.” (Copyright And Higher Education: Announcement Of Recent Development– Photocopies And Other Reproductions By Libraries; New Requirements For Copyright Notices On All Copies, Kenneth Crews, November 24, 1998)
      • Copies made at the request of a library patron become the property of the patron and the library or archives has no notice that the copies will be used other than for private study, scholarship, or research.
      • The library or archives prominently displays the following warning of copyright, as prescribed by the Register of Copyrights, at the place where library users request copies, and includes such a warning on any order forms: NOTICE: Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be ‘used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.’ If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of ‘fair use,’ that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. (See United States Copyright Office Circular 21, p. 20 for details on type size, etc.)
      • Each instance of copying is isolated from and unrelated to any prior copying and includes no more than one copy, except three copies are allowed for preservation purposes.
      • The material copied and distributed is not a musical, sculptural, graphic, motion picture or audiovisual work. Unless for these reasons:
        • The copying and distribution is solely for preservation or replacement;
        • The audiovisual work contains or deals with “news”;
        • A graphic may be copied and distributed as an illustration or adjunct to a work that may be copied for patrons or for interlibrary loan.
        • Note however: “Although subsection (h) generally removes musical, graphic and audiovisual works from the specific exemptions of section 108, it is important to recognize that the doctrine of fair use under section 107 remains fully applicable to the photocopying or other reproduction of such works. In the case of music, for example, it would be fair use for a scholar doing musicological research to have a library supply a copy of a portion of a score or to reproduce portions of a phonorecord of a work.” (H.R. No. 94-1476 as excerpted in United States Copyright Office Circular 21, p. 17.)
    • The extent of copying is prescribed by Section 108 as follows:
      • Generally, no more than one article or other contribution to a copyrighted collection or periodical issue, or a small part of any other copyrighted work.
      • But the entire work, or a substantial part of it, if the library or archives has first determined, on the basis of a reasonable investigation, that a copy or phonorecord of the copyrighted work cannot be obtained at a fair price.
      • Three copies of an unpublished work currently in the Libraries’ collections may be made solely for preservation and security or for deposit for research use at another library or archives that meets the conditions described in 3.1, provided that any digital reproduction is not made available to the public outside the premises of the library or archives.
      • Three copies of a published work may be made solely for replacement of a copy that is damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen, or if the machine or device needed to perceive the work is no longer manufactured or reasonably available commercially, provided that any digital reproduction is not made available to the public outside the premises of the library or archives.
    • During the last 20 years of any term of copyright the library or archives may reproduce, distribute, display or perform in facsimile or digital format a work or portions of a work for purposes of preservation, scholarship or research, except if any of the following conditions is met:
      • the work is subject to normal commercial exploitation;
      • a copy can be obtained at a reasonable price;
      • the copyright owner or agent has provided notice of commercial exploitation or availability as required by the Register of Copyrights. (17 USC 108 (h))
  • Copying by library users
    • Equipment capable of reproducing copyrighted works is publicly available in unsupervised settings. In accordance with 17 USC 108 a library is free from copyright infringement for unsupervised copying if the library posts a notice of copyright near all such equipment. See 3.1.5 for recommended wording.
    • Ellis Library Copy Service can act as a “clearinghouse” for obtaining Copyright Clearance for Faculty who wish to: a) place copyrighted articles on a web page, or b) make multiple copies of items (beyond the first semester) for classroom use.
      • Faculty should see the Head of Copy Service in Room 115, Ellis Library.
      • The Ellis Library Copy Service will charge fees for this service, as Copy Service is a re-charge account. Fees may be increased or lowered depending upon actual experience and total costs. A fee schedule is available from Ellis Library Copy Service.
    • MU Libraries do not provide legal advice or opinion, but do assist library users in finding information about copyright law.
  • Interlibrary Loan
    • Both the borrowing and lending libraries have the responsibility for making sure that interlibrary loan requests conform to the copyright laws.
    • The libraries will follow the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) guidelines and Title 17 of the United States Code.
      • For Periodical Article Copies–Borrowing
        • The library can request no more than 5 copies of “recent” articles (published within 5 years of the date of library’s request) from the same publication within a calendar year unless copyright permissions are obtained or royalties are paid to either the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) or the copyright holder. The five copies may be the same article (1 copy per request) or a combination of different articles from that publication.
        • If the requesting library has a subscription to the requested material, the copy requested will not count as one of the five copies if the material was not available for use at the time of request.
        • No request may be fulfilled unless the request is accompanied by representation that the request was made within CONTU guidelines so the requesting library will include this information on each request that it makes.
        • The library shall maintain records of all requests made by it and fulfillment of such requests for three years after each request is made. That record may be either paper or online in a database. Patron confidentiality will be maintained in accordance with MU Libraries Policy No. 41.
        • The MU Libraries will place articles borrowed for patrons on a secure website and the patron will be notified by email that the documents are available and a PIN to access them.
      • For Periodical Article and Book Chapter or Phonorecord Copies–Lending
        • Copies made for lending should include the notice of copyright that appears on the original. If copying a chapter from a book, in which the chapters do not carry separate attribution, one should copy the copyright notice from the front of the book.
        • If the original work includes a formal copyright notice, photocopy the original copyright notice and affix it to the article or coversheet accompanying the article in a way that it is not easily separated from the article. The notice should accompany all articles sent by fax, ARIEL or any other digital format as well as those sent in paper format.
        • If there is no copyright notice on an item, stamp the article or chapter with a notice that the work may be protected by copyright. See 3.1.3 for suggested wording.
        • Lending of articles or chapters from full-text databases and other digital formats will be done in accordance with the licensing agreement that the University of Missouri has with the supplier of the data. Licensing agreements will take precedence over the copyright laws. In the absence of pertinent licensing agreement guidelines, fair use guidelines pertaining to the copyright laws will govern the lending of materials.
    • For Other Copyrighted Works
      • The library may request no more than 5 copies from a given work during any calendar year unless royalties are paid to either CCC or the copyright holder, except when copyright has expired.
      • The requested copy does not count as one of the five copies if the requesting library has the material on order but it is not yet available.
      • The guidelines apply not only to materials published within the five years before the request but also to the entire copyright term.
  • Library Reserve
    • The MU Libraries’ reserve policies relating to copyright are based on Title 17 of the United States Code and consideration of the CONFU Guidelines, the Guidelines for Classroom Copying, statements by the American Library Association and the Music Library Association and examination of the policies of other libraries.
    • This policy applies to any reproduction, whether by photocopying or other means, of materials that are covered by copyright. Materials that are in the public domain may be copied without limitation and materials obtained through a license agreement are subject to the provisions of the license. If the Libraries have electronic access to an item, the Libraries will create a link to a digitized version of an article rather than reproducing the article either as a photocopy or electronically.
    • Library reserves operations are generally considered to be an extension of the classroom and are guided by the Guidelines for Classroom copying, but governed by the fair use provisions of the copyright law. The Guidelines established the MINIMUM allowable copying, but more extensive copying may be allowed under fair use. Each case must be evaluated individually. The Libraries will assist instructors in assessing fair use, but because some factors cannot be evaluated by library staff, (e.g., the portion of assigned reading represented by copies placed on reserve), the responsibility for compliance lies ultimately with the instructor. Nevertheless, the Libraries have established the following policies and reserve the right to refuse or remove copies that it judges to exceed fair use.
    • This policy refers to the copy from which further copies are made as the “original.”
    • Materials will be placed on reserve at the initiation of the instructor.
    • Students will not be charged to access reserves.
    • The Libraries, the University, or the instructor must own a lawfully obtained original of materials copied for reserve. If an original is on order, a copy may be placed on reserve until the original has arrived. If an original is not readily available through normal commercial channels, a copy may be placed on reserve while permission is sought. If permission is denied, the copy will be removed immediately.
    • Each copy must bear a notice of copyright (see (a) above).
    • Each copy must bear a complete citation or attribution to the source.
    • Copies of “consumable works,” such as workbooks, may not be placed on reserve. Special restrictions may apply to “creative” works such as music, images, and multimedia materials. See (b)-(g) below
    • Single copies of at least one article from an issue of a journal, one chapter from a book, or one poem from a collection may be placed on reserve. In any case, neither the content nor extent of the copying from an item may be so substantial that it may substitute for the purchase of the whole.
    • Multiple copies of a single item may be placed on reserve, provided the number of copies is reasonable in light of the number of students enrolled in the class, and the difficulty and timing of the assignment. A reasonable number is generally considered to be less than six.
    • The total amount copied for one class should be a “reasonable” portion of the total assigned reading for the class. Reserves may not function as a virtual anthology or substitute for the purchase of basic texts.
    • Repeated use of copies of the same material by the same instructor for the same class requires permission from the copyright holder. If the copy is a standard text used repeatedly by many sections of the same course, although taught by different instructors, permission is also required. Extensive use of materials by the same author or from the same periodical without permission may also exceed fair use.
    • Photocopies may be retained for use in subsequent semesters, provided proof of permission from the copyright holder is attached. Otherwise, photocopies will be returned to the instructors at the end of the semester.
    • Special provisions for visual images. In describing the “safe haven” minimum amount of copying considered fair use, the Guidelines for Classroom Copying recommend no more than one image from a book or periodical issue. The Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia recommend no more than 5 images by the same artist or photographer, or in cases of a collective work, no more than 10% of the whole, or 15 images, whichever is less. Note that the duplication of commercially produced slides is probably not a fair use.
    • (b) Special provisions for printed or manuscript music, based on the Guidelines for Educational Use of Music. The “safe haven” minimum amount of copying agreed to be fair use is an excerpt that is less than 10% of an entire work and that does not comprise a performable unit such as a section, movement, or aria. Copying to substitute for anthologies, compilations or collected works is prohibited.
    • (c) Special provisions for sound recordings, based on the Guidelines for Educational Use of Music. Excerpts from recordings owned by the Libraries or by an instructor may be copied in order to create exercises or exams and the resulting recording may be placed on reserve. A single copy of a student performance may be made for rehearsal or evaluation and may be placed on reserve.
    • (d) Special provisions for video involve questions both of copying and of public performance or viewing.
      • Only lawfully made video-recordings may be put on reserve. The time limits included in the Guidelines for Off-Air Recording of Broadcast Programming for Education Purposes preclude placing “homemade” tapes of television programs on reserve. Rental videos should be licensed for educational use.
      • Group and individual viewing of videos in the library is permitted under 17 USC 110 (1). “The legislative history of Section(s) 110(1) and (2) indicates that the legislators thought these two exemptions would cover all performances and displays necessary to teach in public institutions. They specifically include libraries as examples of classrooms or areas devoted to systematic instructional activity.” (Georgia Harper, Copyright in the Library)
    • (e) Special provisions for multimedia projects created by University faculty, staff or students are based on the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia. Only one copy of such a project may be placed on reserve and students must be advised that copying from the multimedia project is prohibited. Educators may use their multimedia projects for no more than two years before obtaining permission for further use of any copyrighted material.
    • (f) Special provision for software. The use of most software is prescribed by license, which may prohibit lending the software through reserves or otherwise. Circulating software should bear a label warning that it is illegal to make copies or otherwise make duplicates of software programs. (17 USC 109(b)(2)(A))
    • (g) Additional provisions for electronic reserves. In addition to the policies above, the following policies apply to materials that are digitally reproduced, transmitted, and displayed. Sections of the Code pertaining to transmission, broadcast, and public display that do not apply to “hard copy” reserves come into play here and the law is still developing to accommodate newer technologies. These additional policies are based on the CONFU Fair Use Guidelines for Electronic Reserve Systems.
      • Because digital copies are so easily altered, care must be taken to guarantee the integrity of scanned material and to protect the author’s reputation, including verification that text is accurately scanned.
      • The introductory screen of the electronic reserves system must display a copyright notice and additional warning against further distribution of digital reserve materials.
      • If a notice of copyright appears on the copy being scanned, then the following statement must be displayed to the user upon accessing that item: “The work from which this copy is made includes this notice: Copyright, [year], XXX Corp.”
      • Access to the electronic reserves for a specific class is limited to students enrolled in that class and to faculty and staff responsible for maintenance. Short-term access may be granted to students who have not completed the class by the end of the term.
      • Material may be maintained in electronic format while permission is obtained for use in a subsequent semester, or until the next term in which the material might be used, but in no event for more than three years, including the year in which the material was last used.
  • Library Instruction
    • Copying for library instruction sessions is guided by the principles of fair use and the University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations 100.010 Photocopying for Teaching and Research.
  • Copyright notice and protection
    • MU Libraries will not remove or obscure copyright notice appearing on any materials.
    • MU Libraries will not circumvent any technological protection measure, except for reverse engineering, encryption research, or security testing.
    • MU Libraries will avoid linking to web resources in a way that obscures ownership of the remote resource (e.g. by “deep linking” to pages lacking ownership or copyright notification.)
  • Indemnification and liability of MU Libraries employees
    • See University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations 490.010 Defense & Protection of Employees.
  • Ownership of works created by MU Libraries employees
    • See University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations 100.030 Copyright Regulations.
  • Recourse for disputes or violations of this policy.
    • Apparent violations of this policy should be reported to the immediate supervisor, division head, or to the Libraries Administration Office.
  • Appendices
    • Suggestions for University Faculty and Staff Seeking Permission to Copy
      • Title, author and/or editor, and edition of materials to be duplicated.
      • Exact material to be used, giving amount, page numbers, chapters and, if possible, a photocopy of the material.
      • Number of copies to be made.
      • Use to be made of duplicated materials.
      • Form of distribution (classroom, reserve, etc.).
      • Whether or not the material is to be sold.
      • Type of reprint (ditto, photography, offset, typeset).
    • The request should be sent, together with a self-addressed return envelope, to the permissions department of the publisher in question.
    • The Copyright Clearance Center also has the right to grant permission and collect fees for photo-copying rights for certain publications. An individual may copy from any journal which is registered with the CCC and report the copying beyond fair use to CCC and pay the set fee. A list of publications for which the CCC handles fees and permissions is available from the CCC, 310 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017.
    • Sample letter to copyright owner (publisher) requesting permission to copy follows:
      (Inside Address)
      I would like permission to copy the following for continued use in my classes in future semesters:
      Title: Learning is Good, Second Edition
      Publisher and Copyright Date: Hypo Book Co., 1980
      Author: Frank Jones
      Material to be Duplicated: Chapter 16 (Photocopy enclosed)
      Number of Copies: 5
      Distribution: The material will be placed on reserve at the main university library.
      Type of Reprint: photocopy
      Use: The chapter will be used as supplementary teaching material.
      I have enclosed a self-addressed envelope for your convenience in replying to this request
      Faculty Member
  • Links to guidelines and other resources mentioned in this policy

Sponsor: Copyright Policy Committee
Approved by Library Council: May 26, 1983
Revised by Library Council: January 15, 1987
Revision of Section 3.4 approved by Library Council: December 12, 1991
Approved by Library Council: February 12, 1992
Revised by the Ad Hoc Copyright Policy Review Group
Approved by Library Council: December 5, 2002
Approved by Director of Libraries: December 5, 2002