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Copyright & Fair Use

Fair Use and Course Materials


Fair Use

Materials may be provided by professors for the students in their classes under exceptions to U.S. Copyright Law. These exceptions include ones for Face-to-Face Instruction, Section 110(1), for Virtual Instruction, under the TEACH Act, Section 110(2), and for Fair Use (Section 107). Using the exceptions for educators in Sections 110(1) and (2) requires a careful consideration of the guidelines. Use the Exceptions for Instructors eTools developed by the Copyright Advisory Council.

If Exceptions for Instructors do not cover your use, then you may see the Fair Use exception does. Using the Fair Use exception calls for a good faith consideration of the four factors that comprise the Fair Use Doctrine stated below.  For assistance in determining whether a given use fits within the fair use doctrine, consult the interactive “Fair Use Evaluator” or the Director of Library Services at Bloomsburg University, Charlotte Droll ( and 570-389-4207). Neither the interactive online tool nor the Director can offer legal advice, but both are available to help professors sort through the issues.

If the professor determines that a given use fits within the fair use doctrine, the professor can then place the material on BOLT, which is a password-secured site which provides access to the students enrolled for that particular course in the given semester.  Help in placing materials on BOLT is available through the staff of the Instructional Media and Design Center. Additional information on copyright and related information can be found within our copyright policy.


Fair Use Doctrine (17 USCS § 107)

“…….In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;

(4) and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

Course Materials

We are committed to providing students and professors with high quality and useful resources for their classes. As professors develop their syllabi and determine course goals, we want to work with them in making course materials available. 

Resources Available at the Library

The Library purchases and subscribes to a great number of books and journals and other materials, many of which are already in electronic form and easily linked to from a BOLT course page.  Librarians are ready to help in identifying suitable materials.  For assistance in digitizing book or journal materials, please contact the Access Services supervisor Lori Osborne ( or 570-389-4220).  For assistance in retrieving materials from other libraries, please contact the Interlibrary Loan Coordinator Andrea Schwartz ( or 570-389-4218).

Creating Course Reserves

Andruss Library can place either Andruss' library or personal copies of books, journal articles, films, videos, music cassettes, and other items on course reserve. Items that are borrowed via EZ Borrow or ILL are NOT allowed to be put on reserve collection.

Depending on the time of submission and/or the number of items involved, PLEASE ALLOW 24 HOURS FOR MATERIAL TO BE PLACED ON OR REMOVED FROM RESERVE.  It generally takes longer to process items submitted for Reserve at the beginning of a semester than it takes to process those submitted during mid-term.  Before or at the beginning of the semester please submit materials at least five days before assigning their use to students.

Items submitted for reserve must be accompanied by a completed Reserve Request Form. Although the form is available online it must be submitted to the library's Reserves Coordinator in person to ensure proper processing. The notice of copyright compliance appearing at the bottom of the form must be signed before materials can be processed. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to secure necessary copyright clearances.

At the end of each academic year and/or summer term all items will be removed from the Reserve Collection and returned to the stacks and/or instructor. If instructors wish to have photocopied journal articles remain on reserve they must secure necessary copyright clearance. The library is not responsible for any fee that might be incurred when obtaining permission from the copyright holder.

Fair Use of Media Materials

The use of media in course materials calls for additional attention because media materials may be of a highly creative nature (e.g. musical composition or art film) and because of the provisions of the TEACH Act.  For assistance in determining the fair use of such materials, consult the interactive "Fair Use Evaluator" provided through PASSHE or the Director of the Library Services at Bloomsburg University, Charlotte Droll ( and 570-389-4207); neither the interactive online tool nor the Director can offer legal advice, but both are available to help professors sort through the issues.

For assistance in making media materials available, after the professor determines that the use fits within the Fair Use Doctrine, consult the staff of the Instructional Media and Design Center.

When Fair Use is Not Available

When a professor determines that a given use does not fall within the Fair Use Doctrine, we will work with that professor and consider other options, including purchase of materials or the pursuit of permission.  For more information, please consult the Director of Library Services at Bloomsburg University, Charlotte Droll ( and 570-389-4207)

Where to Learn More

The Copyright Crash Course at the University of Texas does a very good job of explaining the issues pertinent to educators.  


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