This guide provides a basic overview of copyright law, fair use, copyright for instructors, and other copyright related resources.

Exceptions for Library Services and Copyright

Libraries and archives enjoy specific exemptions to the exclusive rights of copyright owners. These exemptions complement fair use in copyright law's intent to maintain a balance of the private interests of copyright owners with the public's interest in advancing the "progress of science and the useful arts." They assure in some measure that copyright-protected information is accessible to individuals for private study.

In most cases, library services that involve copying or other reproduction of copyrighted resources are dependent on at least one of five conditions. Use is permitted because:

  1. The work is in the public domain;
  2. The copyright holder has given permission for the use;
  3. There is a license agreement  that permits the use;
  4. The use is allowed under Section 108: Limitations on Exclusive Rights: Reproduction by Libraries and Archives;
  5. The use is allowed under Section 107: Limitations on Exclusive Right: Fair Use.

Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Policy

The University Libraries provides interlibrary loan borrowing services to current students, staff, and faculty of Colorado State University to support the teaching, research and service missions of the University by providing access to material not owned in the University Libraries collections.  

The Libraries Interlibrary Loan Service complies with CONTU guidelines and Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

Under Section 108, libraries and archives are permitted to photocopy or reproduce a work if it will be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The Libraries reserve the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, the fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Course Reserves Policy

Shelf reserve, located at the Loan and Reserve Desk, consists of physical items such as books, DVDs, etc., that are available for use by students enrolled in a course. The lending of physical books is made possible under the first sale doctrine (section 109a of the Copyright Act) that permits the owner of a lawful copy to resell, rent, lend or give away that copy without the permission of the copyright owner. 

Electronic Reserve (E-Reserve) consists of digital resources (both personal and library materials) that can be scanned or copied, including chapters from books, journals, articles, tests, exams, and other assignments. Entire books/publications cannot be displayed on E-Reserve unless we are providing a link to the full text online. The number of chapters allowed from each text is determined by a fair use analysis. Due to copyright restrictions, only the instructor, TAs, and students registered for a specific section of each course can view Electronic Reserve items for that course. 

For more information see the Course Reserve FAQ.

Digital Repository Policy

Mountain Scholar provides an open access showcase of research, scholarship, and creative works of Colorado State University faculty, students, and academic staff. Guidelines for contributing to the repository include information on how to retain your rights as an author and frequently asked questions about copyright issues.

Your Librarian

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Khaleedah Thomas

Informational Purposes Only

The materials and information on this guide are intended for informational purposes only. CSU Libraries make every effort to assure the accuracy of this information but do not offer it as counsel or legal advice. Please consult the University's Office of the General Counsel or your own attorney for advice concerning your specific situation.


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