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Copyright @ UW-River Falls

Have questions about copyright? Check out this guide.

Class Handouts

Copyright protected material may be distributed to students in University classes in the form of a class handout, provided the following procedure is observed:

A. Each time copyrighted material is to be copied and distributed, conduct a fair use assessment to determine if the projected use of the copyrighted material falls within the fair use provisions of the U.S. Copyright law. Please consider the following factors in conducting this assessment:

  • 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
  • whether or not the time between the decision to use the material and the time it is needed by the class is sufficient to obtain copyright permission
  1. If it is determined that the projected use is fair, mark each copy with a notice of copyright.
  2. Distribute only one copy per student.
  3. If students are charged, charge no more than the actual cost of copying the material.

B. If it is determined that the projected use does not fall within the fair use provisions of the U.S. Copyright law, the material may not be distributed until copyright permission has been received. Requests for permission may be made directly to the copyright holder or to the Copyright Clearance Center.

  1. Requests sent directly to the copyright holder should be prepared on University letterhead stationary to include the date the material is needed, the class it will be used in, the professor who is scheduled to teach the class, and the number of copies needed. A complete bibliographic description of the material for which permission is requested, must also be included. See sample permission letter to request permission to copy for a class handout.
  2. Requests may be submitted to the Copyright Clearance Center using the form provided at this site. Requests submitted to the Copyright Clearance Center are generally processed much faster than requests submitted directly to the copyright holder, but, in order to use its services, an account must be initiated and maintained. The website listed above has forms and instructions for establishing an account. The website also has information about the purpose of the Copyright Clearance Center, information about fair use and copyright compliance issues, and information about the costs it charges for its services. A sample Copyright Clearance Center permissions request is included below.

C. Class handouts which are sent to Fast Copy for duplication will be checked for possible copyright violations. Fast Copy and the University Publications Office conscientiously follow all copyright restrictions when processing copying orders.

Course Packets

Collections or anthologies of materials, commonly called course packs, may be compiled, prepared and distributed by Textbook Services in support of classes taught at the University, provided the following procedures are observed:

A. Permission to copy must be acquired for all copyrighted material included in course packets.

  1. The material should be sent by the professor to Textbook Services along with Textbook Services Form 2, Request For Material to be Copied For Class Use . (See the sample below). The material will not be returned to the professor when the project is completed, unless specifically requested.
  2. The professor must provide Textbook Services with copyright holder information and with complete bibliographic information for each copyrighted item that is to be included in the course packet.
  3. The professor must provide a good, legible copy of the material to be copied and placed in the course packet.
  4. Orders which contain incomplete copyright or bibliographic information cannot be processed until the information is received.

a. Copyright information for material excerpted from books should be on the copyright page in the front of the book.

b. In periodicals, copyright information is usually near the front of the periodical, as part of the publisher's statement.

  1. Since it will take time to contact copyright holders and get copyright clearances, since material cannot legally be distributed until clearances are received, and since the Fast Copy Center will also need time to complete the copying of the material, requests for class packets must be received by Textbook Services well in advance of the time that the material will be needed for distribution.
  2. The greater the number of items in a packet, the longer it will take to contact and receive clearances from each of the copyright holders. About 3 months should be sufficient lead time for most course packets, though the time needed can vary greatly.
  3. Requests for preparation of course packets will be processed on a first come first served basis.

B. Requests for copyright clearance are sent by Textbook Services to the Copyright Clearance Center. See the sample below. Textbook Services will pay all copyright clearance costs (within reason). Textbook Services will also pay the cost of duplicating the material at the Fast Copy Center

C. If the Copyright Clearance Center is unable to provide permission to copy, or if it appears that it will be too expensive, Textbook Services will contact the copyright holder directly.

  • Textbook Services will send a formal, first class letter, under the University letterhead, asking for permission to copy. See the sample below.
  • Textbook Services will send requests to the “Permissions Editor” of the publishing company, or companies, if the copyright holder's name is not known

The letter will indicate the educational purpose for which the copied material is intended.

Textbook Services will provide complete bibliographic information.

  • Textbook Services will provide a self addressed, stamped envelope along with the request for permission form, so that the permission form may be mailed back with a minimum of inconvenience.
  • Textbook Services will request a response within 4 weeks from the date of the letter. If no reply is received within 5 weeks of that date, a follow-up, certified letter, with a copy of the original request will be sent.
  • If the certified letter also results in no response, Textbook Services will wait at least 2 weeks from the date of the certified letter, and then proceed with using the material until further information is received. Textbook Services will save copies of all correspondence, including the envelopes, so that a record can be established to show that a “good faith” effort to obtain copyright permission has been made. If a late, negative response is received after the material has been duplicated, or if a late positive response quotes too high a copyright fee, Textbook Services will discontinue use and destroy all copies of the material.
  • Textbook Services will pay all copyright clearance costs (within reason). Textbook Services will also pay the cost of duplicating the material at Fast Copy.

D. Each item used in course packets distributed by Textbook Services will include a notice of copyright and a citation listing the author, title, source and copyright holder of the item.

E. Class packets may be sold to students during the semester textbook sale. The price charged by Textbook Services can be no higher than the actual cost of producing the packet, i.e. course packets cannot be sold for profit. Packets that are lost, or damaged beyond repair, must be purchased. The price charged can be no higher than the actual cost of producing the packet.

F. In cases where the professor requesting the course packet is also the author of some or all the material in the packet, and/or owns the material copyright, Textbook Services will prepare, and the professor must sign, a copyright permission form before the material is duplicated.

G. Requests to copy out of print material in its entirety will be sent to the copyright holder using the form letter described above.

H. Once the copyright permission process has been completed, the course packet will be sent to the Fast Copy Center for duplication, bound in 3 ring vinyl binders, processed, and then issued to students along with their textbooks.