Copyright Guidelines, Reserves Collection

The James E. Walker Library’s policy regarding use of copyrighted materials for placement on Reserves in either a paper or electronic format is based upon the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Section 107 of this Act defines rights of educators and librarians to make multiple copies for classroom use.

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use of the factors to be considered shall include—  

    • 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; and
    • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
17 US Code § 107; Pub. L. 94-553, Title I, § 101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2546.


The books, periodicals, electronic resources and other materials that comprise the collection of the James E. Walker Library have been acquired for the nonprofit, educational use of the Middle Tennessee State University academic community. The Library often pays a premium in the form of institutional subscriptions and multiple user licensing agreements for these resources, with the understanding that such acquisitions entitle the Library to make a limited number of additional copies for simultaneous users accessible through Reserves.

General Procedures

Walker Library staff will adhere to the following general procedures to make sure that copies in either a paper or electronic format placed on Reserves comply with both the spirit and specifics of the 1976 Copyright Act and the Fair Use provisions described therein:

  • Materials placed on Reserves will be placed at the initiative of MTSU faculty and staff for the non-commercial, non-profit educational use of their students.
  • Materials copied or scanned for the purpose of placement on Reserves will be in the legal possession (by purchase, gift acquisition, "Fair Use", license, etc.) of the Walker Library, or of the instructor placing the item in Reserves.
  • There will be no charge to students to access material on Reserves.
  • Access to materials on Reserves will be limited to MTSU faculty and students affiliated with the class through the Library’s electronic reserve system using an electronic password verification system.
  • Only a limited portion of a book or journal may be photocopied and placed on Reserves. Complete books or substantial portions of materials will not be copied for placement on Reserves without written permission of the copyright holder.
  • A notice of copyright will appear on the user’s screen and on copies made to indicate that the item may be covered by copyright law. An appropriate citation regarding the source of the item will also be included.
  • Copyright protected works will be removed from Reserves at the end of each semester.

Because the scanning and utilization of copyright-protected materials for placement on Reserves is an unsettled area of law which may be interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court or by further revision of the U.S. Code by legislation, the James E. Walker Library reserves the right to change its policy and procedures to conform to future judicial opinion or Congressional guidance.