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Did you know?

Electronic copying and scanning of copyright-protected works for library reserve systems and distance learning are uninterpreted areas of the law which the Supreme Court or future revisions of the copyright law may address. Perkins Library and the Duke Office of Counsel will monitor legal developments concerning fair use to ensure that Duke University Libraries is in compliance with U.S. copyright law.

For more information, please contact, director of Copyright and Scholarly Communications.

What is a "fair use" of copyrighted materials?

The use of electronic reserves material, as with all reserves, is governed by the provisions of fair use of the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Section 107 of the Copyright Act expressly permits the making of multiple copies for classroom use. In determining fair use there are four factors:

  • Purpose: the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit education purposes
  • Nature: the nature of the copyrighted work
  • Amount: the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  • Effect: the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

How do I access materials on Course Reserves?

Duke's electronic Course Reserves provides access to supplementary course materials in support of the University's academic mission. Course Reserves is accessible through:

  • Sakai course/learning management system
  • Duke University Libraries catalog search

To search Course Reserves through the library catalog:

How do I avoid violating the Copyright Act?

  • Authorized users may view, download and print copies from Sakai or Course Reserves. Note that documents are formatted in Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) files. If you access documents from your personal computer, you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader program to view and print the documents. 
  • You are allowed to make one copy of each document for uses such as education, personal reading, private study, research and scholarship. Note that you have until the conclusion of the course to view and print documents. Staff remove all materials from Course Reserve at the end of the academic semester.

  • Duke University Libraries will not place materials on electronic reserves if it judges that the nature, scope or extent of the material is beyond the reasonable limits of fair use. For example, staff will not scan complete books and journal issues. If necessary, staff will purchase copyright use permissions in order to make materials available for Course Reserves.

  • Read the copyright warning, which appears on the first page of each Course Reserve document: "NOTICE: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code). Title 17 U.S. Code governs the making of photocopies of copyrighted materials. The person using this system is liable for any infringement."