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Copyright Law & The Library: Printed Works

Printed Materials (Books/Periodicals/Pamphlets/etc.)

Some guidelines have been put forth as a result of initial agreements between representatives of the educational community and the publishing industry.  These guidelines are outlined below:

Single Copying for Teachers:  A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for his or her scholarly research for 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, whether or not from a collective work;
  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.

Multiple Copies for Classroom Use:  Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion; provided that:

  • The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below;
  • Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below;
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright.


Reproduction of Charts, Graphics, Diagrams, Drawings, Cartoons, Pictures from a Book, Periodical, or Newspaper

  • A single copy may be made from any one book, periodical, or newspaper, provided the copy is not sold or republished.
  • It is illegal to copy more than a single picture from any one book, periodical, or newspaper without the permission from the publisher.
  • This rule applies to all media formats of reproduction, including paper, transparencies, slides, photographs, or videotapes.



  • Poetry:  (a) a complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages or (b) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
  • Prose:  (a) either a complete article, story, or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work or not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.
    • (Each of the numerical limits in the above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph.)
  • Illustrations:  One chart, graph diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture per book or per periodical issue.
  • Special” works:  Certain works in poetry, prose or in “poetic prose” which, often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety.  Paragraph (b) above notwithstanding such “special works” may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than 10% of the words found in the text thereof, may be reproduced.


  • The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher;
  • The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in the time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative Effect

  • The copying of the material for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
  • Not more than one short poem, article, essay, or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
    • (The limitations stated in the above shall not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.)