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Academics & Copyright: Reproducing Materials

The information in this guide has been gathered from the American Library Association, Library of Congress, United States Copyright Office, Copyright Clearance Center, Miami Dade College, and Columbia University Library.

Photocopying Instructions for Academics

Teachers may photocopy articles to hand out in class, but the guidelines impose restrictions. Classroom copying cannot be used to replace texts or workbooks used in the classroom. The number of copies cannot exceed more than one copy per student. A notice of copyright must be affixed to each copy.    

Language Suggested for the Notices Required by the Copyright Revision Act of 1976

  1. For the notice of copyright to be included on the reproduction of a work according to subsection 108 (a)(3): 

    Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code). 

    A library may choose to stamp this sentence on the first piece of each item photocopied, to attach it to the glass on the photocopying equipment so that it is automatically transferred to each sheet, to attach a sticker bearing this notice to each item photocopied, or to use some other method whereby this message is affixed to all reproductions. 

  2. For the notice to be displayed on unsupervised reproducing equipment located in a library or archives as required in subsection 108 (f)(1): 

    Notice: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this equipment is liable for any infringement. 


American Library Association 
Reference and User Services Association 
Interlibrary Loan Committee 
September, 1977 

Single Photocopy

A single copy may be made of any of the following by a teacher for his/her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class: a chapter from a book; an article from a periodical or newspaper; a short story, short essay or short poem; a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper.

Multiple Photocopies

Multiple copies for classroom use may be made by the teacher, provided that: the copying meets the brevity (such as a short poem or article, or 10% of a book), spontaneity (the inspiration and decision to use the work at the moment that would most benefit students did not allow for sufficient time to seek permission), and cumulative effect (this test limits the copying of works from the same author, collective work or periodical volume during one class term, as well as the number of instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term). Each copy must include a notice of copyright.  Download this PDF file on the Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians for more information.