Classroom Handouts

Safest Use

Portion Limitations:

a. Poetry: A complete poem if less than 250 words or, from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.

b. Article/Story/Essay: A complete work if less than 2,500 words.

c. Longer Prose: A 500-word excerpt from any work (or up to a 1,000-word excerpt if not more than 10% of the work).

d. Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.

e. “Special” works: Works which combine text with illustrations often fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety (e.g. children’s books). Such “special works” may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt of not more than two of the published pages of such a work and containing not more than 10% of the words found in the text may be reproduced.

f. Same Author/Work/Volume: 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.

g. Consumable works: 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.

Time Limitations:

  • Copying should not be repeated with respect to the same item by the same faculty member from term to term

  • No more than nine items should be copied for a course during any one term.

Access/Distribution Limitations:

  • Only one copy should be made for each student in the course.

  • Each item that is copied should only be used for a single course.

Other Considerations:

  • Any copying must be “spontaneous”, and there must not be reasonably adequate time available to pursue copyright permission.

  • All copies must include a copyright notice.

Questionable Use

For possible uses of copyrighted materials that exceed the portion, time and access/distribution limitations outlined above, please do the following:

Dangerous Use


a. Poetry: Copying an entire epic poem (in a copyrighted translation).

b. Article/Story/Essay: Copying a work substantially longer than 2,500 words.

c. Longer Prose: Copying an excerpt that is substantially longer than 1,000 words or 10% of the entire work.

d. Illustration: Copying multiple cartoons or images from a single source (e.g. a collection of political cartoons).

e. “Special” works: Copying an entire picture book.

f. Same Author/Work/Volume: Copying multiple short stories by the same author and distributing in class at one time – or copying more than three pieces from a collected work over the course of the term.

g. Consumable works: Copying any consumable works.


  • Copying the same material for the same class repeatedly.

  • Copying substantially more than nine items for any one class over the course of the term.

Access/Distribution Limitations:

  • Making multiple copies of a work for each student.

  • Copying material and using it for more than one course.

Other Considerations:

  • Making copies months ahead of time and saving them for an upcoming course.

  • Not including a copyright notice on items distributed in class.



Usage Guidelines A-Z