WCC Rules of Thumb - Copies for Classroom, Coursepacks, and Music
Copies for use in the class are generally covered by the 1976 agreed-upon guidelines set out in
Circular 21 from the Office of Copyright. These guidelines may be found at
Many believe these guidelines are too restrictive. A rule of thumb similar to that for
coursepacks set out below may be followed. Essentially, the guidelines depend on brevity
(defined specifically for specific types of material), spontaneity (defined as "no time to
get permission), and charging students no more than the cost of the photocopy.
Coursepacks are the quintessential fair use problem in education. If the coursepack is prepared
by or copied by a for-profit business, permissions must be obtained.
If, however, you are doing to copying yourself or charging only the cost of the photocopies,
fair use may apply. We recommend that you complete and keep a "fair use analysis" for each
portion of a copyrighted work that you use. A fair use worksheet is has been developed by
Cornell University and is available at
This analysis will help to protect you if your right to use the material is challenged.
In general, material may be copied for distribution to the students in a coursepack if:
You must obtain permission for materials that will be used repeatedly by the same instructor
for the same course.
- The material is limited in amount and does not go to the "heart of the work."
- single chapters
- single articles from a journal issue
- several charts, graphs or illustrations
- other similarly small parts (in any case no more than 10%) of a work.
- The material cumulatively is small in proportion to the amount of assigned reading for the course.
- Any copyright notice on the original is included.
- Appropriate citations and attributions to the source are given.