Copying Guidelines - Classroom Use Books and Periodicals

The purpose of the following guidelines is to state the minimum and not the maximum standards of educational fair use under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976.


Single Copying for Teachers

A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for his or her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:

  • A chapter from a book
  • An article from a periodical or newspaper
  • A short story, essay, or poem, whether or not from a collective work
  • A chart; graph; diagram; drawing; cartoon; or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper

Multiple Copies for Classroom Use

Multiple copies (not to exceed, in any event, more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion provided that:

  • The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below.
  • The copying meets the cumulative effect test as defined below.
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright.



  1. Poetry: (a) A complete poem consisting of less than 250 words printed or not more than 2 pages, or (b) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
  2. Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story, or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.
    (Each of the numerical limits stated in “A” or “B” above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or an unfinished prose paragraph.)
  3. Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture per book or per periodical issue.
  4. “Special” works: Certain works in poetry, prose, or in “poetic prose” which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and other times for a more general audience fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety. Paragraph “B” above, notwithstanding such “special works,” may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than 2 of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than 10 percent of the words found in the text thereof may be reproduced.


  1. The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher.
  2. The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

Cumulative Effect

  1. The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
  2. Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay to two excerpts may be copied from the same author and not more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
  3. There will not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term. (The limitations stated in “B” and “C” above will not apply to current news periodicals and newspapers and current news sections of other periodicals.)


Prohibitions as to Guidelines A and B above.

Notwithstanding any of the above, the following will be prohibited:

  1. Copying will not be used to create, replace, or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works. Such replacement or substitutions may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts there from are accumulated or are reproduced and used separately.
  2. There will 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, test booklets and answer sheets, and like consumable material.
  3. Copying will not:
    • Substitute for the purchase of books, publisher’s reprints, or periodicals.
    • Be directed by higher authority.
    • Be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.
  4. No charge will be made to the student beyond the actual cost of the photocopying.