Copyright Questions: Educational Use

This is one of a series of questions submitted by attendees of the Copyright, Common Mistakes and Myths Webinar and answered by Laura N. Gasaway, author of Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers.

Laura N. GasawayQuestion: Can a teacher/professor make a copy of a single article from an owned journal and give it to every student in the class?

Answer: Generally yes, if the article is being used for nonprofit education. At the time the Copyright Act was enacted, there were guidelines that were developed by publishers and educational association representatives called “The Guidelines on Multiple Copying for Classroom Use.” These were published in the House Report that accompanied the Act and therefore have a big stamp of Congress on them. They may be found here.

There are restrictions found in these guidelines, such as the length of the article, the fact that the decision to use the item was made too late to seek permission, a restriction on the number of articles per term, no charge for the copy beyond the actual cost of copying, copies must contain the notice of copyright and no repetition with respect to the same item without seeking permission. Further, many argue that such copying for a classroom is a fair use. The Georgia State litigation eventually will answer this question.  

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris Hanney contains information vital to the publishing community.

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