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Copyright and Fair Use

Coursepacks

Coursepacks which serve as a replacement for purchasing a textbook and contain readings from published materials are generally considered outside of fair use and usually require obtaining permission to include those materials. Unless the material is in the public domain, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder.

For published materials, there is often a fee charged for these permissions. On average, the charge is about 20 cents per page, per student. This fee is added to the cost of printing to determine the total cost of the coursepack sold in the college store.

For more information, see the Policy & Procedure document linked below, or explore the tabs above.

For assistance in obtaining permission for courspeacks, see the Obtaining Permissions tab on the left, or contact the Scholarly Communications Librarian.

Materials included in coursepacks must be compliant with copyright law. For any material covered by copyright, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder before it is included in the coursepack. The library can assist with acquiring permissions.

The permissions process usually requires the payment of fees to copyright holders. If the library is assisting, the library will pay these fees after the faculty member approves the total quoted cost. It is then the responsibility of the faculty member’s department to promptly reimburse the library for the incurred fees. Alternately, it may be possible to arrange for the fees to be purchased directly through the department.

In most cases, a page will need to be added to the front of the coursepack, after the title page, indicating that each of the included materials has been used with the permission of their respective copyright holder. The language for the statements on this page will usually be indicated within the permissions agreements.

After the permissions have been secured, the coursepack may be printed. The total permissions cost will be added to the printing cost to determine the final purchase price of the coursepack. Once the coursepacks have been purchased, the College Store will reimburse the faculty member’s department.

(Please note that the faculty member should also consult with the staff in the Office of Disability Services during the material selection stage, as the resulting coursepack must meet the College’s accessibility standards.)

Electronic coursepacks include any set collection of assigned readings shared electronically in their full text (such as pdfs posted in Canvas). Electronic coursepacks are not exempt from copyright law and may also require securing permissions.

It is strongly suggested that if the assigned readings are electronically available through the library, that they are linked to, rather than shared directly in pdf form. Linking to articles in the library’s databases does not incur permissions fees. Links may be posted in Canvas, included in syllabi, emailed, etc. So long as students download the pdf directly from the database for themselves, permission is unnecessary.

(Please note that articles from the Harvard Business Review are the only exception to this and permission is always required to use HBR materials within a course.)

The Education Exception

Open Educational Resources