Code of best practices for fair use in academic and research libraries
Home » Content » Code of best practices for fair use in academic and research libraries
At last, the Librarians Speak...for the full publication,
It is fair use to make appropriately tailored course-related content available to
enrolled students via digital networks.
• Closer scrutiny should be applied to uses of content created and marketed
primarily for use in courses such as the one at issue (e.g., a textbook, workbook,
or anthology designed for the course). Use of more than a brief excerpt from
such works on digital networks is unlikely to be transformative and therefore
unlikely to be a fair use.
• The availability of materials should be coextensive with the duration of the
course or other time-limited use (e.g., a research project) for which they have
been made available at an instructor’s direction.
• Only eligible students and other qualified persons (e.g., professors’ graduate
assistants) should have access to materials.
• Materials should be made available only when, and only to the extent that, there
is a clear articulable nexus between the instructor’s pedagogical purpose and the
kind and amount of content involved.
• Libraries should provide instructors with useful information about the nature
and the scope of fair use, in order to help them make informed requests.
• When appropriate, the number of students with simultaneous access to online
materials may be limited.
• Students should also be given information about their rights and responsibilities
regarding their own use of course materials.
• Full attribution, in a form satisfactory to scholars in the field, should be
provided for each work included or excerpted.
• The case for fair use is enhanced when libraries prompt instructors, who are
most likely to understand the educational purpose and transformative nature
of the use, to indicate briefly in writing why particular material is requested,
and why the amount requested is appropriate to that pedagogical purpose. An
instructor’s justification can be expressed via standardized forms that provide a
balanced menu of common or recurring fair use rationales.
• In order to assure the continuing relevance of those materials to course content,
libraries should require instructors of recurrently offered courses to review
posted materials and make updates as appropriate.