Copyright and Fair Use

Obtaining Permission

Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and web sites. You need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder (i.e. outside the boundaries of fair use).

Steps that need to be followed to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:

  1. Determine if permission is needed for the work you want to use.
  2. Identify the copyright holder or agent. 
  3. Send written request for permission to use. Remember to give yourself ample lead time, as the process for obtaining permissions can take months. Decide if you are willing to pay a licensing fee/royalty.
  4. If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), be prepared to use a limited amount that qualifies for fair use, or use alternative material.

For more information, including what to include in a request to obtain permission, visit the Copyright Clearance Center's Permission page.

Placing Materials on Reserve

Faculty can request the library to place books on reserve via the Reserves Request Form.  Items may also be submitted at the Circulation Desk on the 1st floor of the Library.

Books, DVDs, and and other Physical Items:

  • Faculty copies (items that faculty have loaned the library) are kept behind the Circulation Desk.
  • MCLA Library copies (items the Library owns) are either kept behind the Circulation Desk.
  • All copies are removed at the end of the semester.  Faculty copies are returned to their owners and Library copies are returned to their original location in the Library.

Ebooks, Articles, and Streaming Videos:

  • You can add links to ebooks, articles, and streaming videos from the library databases directly into your Canvas course. See our guide for more information on adding links to Canvas.
  • Direct links to items in our databases are preferred, but if an item isn't available in our collection and the item meets the fair use guidelines, you can upload a PDF to your Canvas course.
  • If the video you want to use isn't in our databases, contact the library about purchase and licensing option.

Review the "Common Scenarios" page for more guidelines on the fair use and course reserves.

The MCLA library honors requests from faculty to place course related items on reserve that are in compliance with US Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107) and the fair use guidelines.