Reserves and Copyright

All content placed on Course Reserves must comply with U.S. Copyright law. No one should post content consisting of copyrighted material or portions of copyrighted material without first:

  • determining that the content falls within the public domain, or
  • obtaining permission from the copyright owner, or
  • determining, after a reasonable analysis, that the content is a fair use for which permission is not required. The Association of Research Libraries has developed a Fair Use Fundamentals infographic to give an overview of fair use.

If you are a Canvas user interested in posting content (journal articles, book chapters, etc.) for which you do not own the copyright, please use the Course Reserves system within Canvas. The library staff will assist you with permissions, fair use, public domain, and other issues. A link to your reserves list can be created and placed directly into your Canvas course. For more information, contact the Oxford Reserves Team.

The Oxford College Library staff will review all materials uploaded to Course Reserves to determine if those materials fall within Fair Use and our license agreements. The library will seek and pay permissions for materials when appropriate based on our guidelines and available funds.

The Public Domain and Permissions

The public domain refers to material not protected by copyright.  Anyone can use material in the public domain without permission.  Some material, such as that created by an employee of the U.S. federal government, in their official capacity, automatically enters the public domain upon creation.  However, most material enters the public domain due to the expiration of the copyright term.  Generally, any material published in the United States prior to 1923 or published outside the United States prior to 1909 is in the public domain and can be used without permission.

If the copyrighted material you would like to use is not within the public domain and your use of the work is not fair use, permission must be obtained from the copyright owner.  In support of classroom instruction, the Provost's Office has generously created a special fund for the Libraries to pay for permissions.  This fund is separate from the budget for new library materials.  If a reserve assignment seems to exceed our guidelines, the Libraries will seek and pay applicable permissions fees on those materials as a service for the faculty. 

Material from Databases and eJournals

The Emory Libraries provide access to a number of databases and electronic journals by subscription agreement with vendors. Examples of major vendors of electronic resources include EBSCO, JSTOR, Project Muse, and Lexis Nexis. The Libraries maintain a full list of all databases and eJournals with current subscription agreements.

In many cases the license agreements with the vendors or publishers of these materials specifically address whether or not content may be downloaded and re-posted to an electronic reserves system. Since the answer to this question is inconsistent and there are so many licenses to consider, Reserves policy is TO LINK TO ANY DATABASE OR eJOURNAL CONTENT, rather than downloading the document and uploading it into Course Reserves.

Library staff reviews uploaded content, and any database or eJournal content will be changed to links or removed if they are in breach of any library contract. IT IS ALWAYS THE POLICY TO LINK. If you have any questions about how best to link to database and eJournal content, please contact the Oxford Reserves Team for more information.

Using Web Resources

When including a web site in Course Reserves simply link to the webpage. Linking is preferable to scanning or making a digital copy.

Copyright law no longer requires a copyright owner to place a copyright notice or symbol on copyrighted material. One should assume that all material published on the web is copyrighted. Therefore, unless the webpage specifically states that anyone can use the work for any purpose, one should assume that “all rights are reserved.”

However, some copyright owners prefer to share their work with the public, and one way to do this is through a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons is a way for copyright owners to allow others to use their work, under certain conditions. Copyright owners can choose from several licensing options and allow the public to use their work with certain restrictions like non-commercial use or with proper attribution.

Faculty Created Content#

Faculty created material can be included in Course Reserves. Such material includes exams, quizzes, course notes, course syllabi, journal articles and book chapters authored by the faculty member and for which the faculty member retained copyright.

Many publishers use traditional publication agreements which require that all rights, including copyright, transfer to the journal or book publisher. Consequently, if you have transferred your copyright to the publisher and later want to post your article or chapters from your book in Course Reserves, we may have to ask for permission from the publisher.

One way to avoid this issue in the future is to carefully read all your publication agreements and negotiate with the publisher. This can be done by adding the SPARC Author Addendum to your publication agreement. The addendum modifies the publication agreement to allow the author to retain some rights, including the ability to post the article or chapters to Course Reserves.

Another option is to see if your article can be deposited in OpenEmory, an open access repository of Emory faculty authored articles. If so, you can link to the article from within Course Reserves, and the article will also be freely available to the world.

For more information about copyright, fair use, or permissions, please contact the Oxford College Reserves Team.