Copies for Personal Use Guidelines

Includes: Paper or digital reproductions by students and faculty of textual or pictorial works for the purpose of individual study, research, scholarship or preparation for teaching/participation in a class; applies to works not personally owned by the student or faculty member

Option One: Determine if the material is in the public domain or is licensed for open use. If not…

Option Two: Determine if the use qualifies as Fair Use. If not…

Option Three: Get permission to use the material from the copyright holder.


Safest Use

Portion/Material Limitations:

a. Books: One chapter from a book

b. Articles: One article from an individual issue of a journal or newspaper

c. Short works: One short story, essay or poem, whether or not from a collective work

d. Illustrations: One chart, graph, photograph, drawing, cartoon or illustration from any work

Access/Distribution Limitations:

  • Copies should be used only by the person responsible for the reproduction.

Questionable Use

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

  • Complete a Fair Use Checklist (.pdf) to determine if your use may still qualify as fair use.

Dangerous Use


a. Books: Photocopying or scanning an entire book from the Library so that you don’t have to purchase it.

b. Articles: Photocopying or scanning an entire journal or newspaper issue.

c. Short works: Photocopying or scanning an entire collected work.

d. Illustrations: Photocopying or scanning many photographs, illustrations, drawings, etc from a single work or by a single artist/photographer.


  • Sharing copies with classmates, friends, family, etc. (e.g. copying a book chapter and sending it to everyone in your class – assuming it isn’t on e-reserve, Blackboard, etc).


Usage Guidelines A-Z