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Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-For-Profit Educational Institutions with respect to books and periodicals

Given the relative uncertainty about the meaning of fair use as applied to various situations, especially in the educational setting, various interested parties have proposed the creation of "guidelines" that attempt to interpret and apply the law to common circumstances.

These guidelines are intended to provide the minimum standards of educational fair use. There may be times when copying may exceed the guidelines, but where fair use may still apply. 

Faculty: you are responsible for observing copyright law so please be familiar with these guidelines.


  1. Single copying for teachers – a single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at her/his individual request for her/his scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
    1. A chapter from a book
    2. An article from a periodical or newspaper
    3. A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work
    4. A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper
  1. 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 the following applies:
    1. The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below and,
    2. The copying meets and cumulative-effect test as defined below and,
    3. Each copy includes a notice of copyright.



  1. Poetry: (a) A completed 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.
  1. Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words. (Each of the numerical limits stated in "i" and "ii" above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or of an unfinished prose paragraph).
  1. Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or periodical issue.                      
  1. "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 "ii" 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 no more than 10 percent of the words found in the text thereof may be reproduced.


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

Cumulative Effect

  1. The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
  1. Not more than one short poem, article, story, 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.
  1. There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term. (The limitations stated in "ii" and "iii" above shall not apply to current news sections of other periodicals.)
  1. Prohibitions as to A and B above – notwithstanding any of the above, the following shall be prohibited:
    1. Copying shall not be used to create, replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works. Such replacement or substitutions may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts therefrom are accumulated or reproduced and used separately.
    2. There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be "consumable" in the course of study or of teaching. These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets and like consumable material.
    3. Copy shall not
      1. Substitute for the purchase of books, publisher's reprints or periodicals.
      2. Be directed by higher authority.
      3. Be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.
    4. No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual cost of photocopying.