Knowledge Base

University Libraries Copyright Guidelines

Copyright Law Basics

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research." If a user makes a request, or later uses, a photocopy or other reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use", that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copy order, if in its judgment fulfillment of the order would involve a violation of copyright law.

The Association of Research Libraries has published a brochure entitled Know Your Copy Rights which should help faculty and teaching assistants know how to operate within copyright law. Also, visit the OU Provost office's site on Copyright, TEACH Act and DMCA.

Copyright Restrictions on Photocopying

No user may copy more than a reasonable portion of any work, which our libraries consider as:

  • Only two chapters per book or two articles per journal issue (some journals have several issues bound together, the rule is two articles per issue).
  • Only twenty percent of the book or journal.
  • Only 50 pages of the book or journal.
  • Which ever comes first.

Any work published before 1923 can be copied in its entirety. Government documents may also be copied in their entirety.

Photocopying Workbooks and Solution Manuals

We reserve the right to refuse to copy workbooks and solution manuals, as they are publications designed for one person's use.