Skip to main content

Copyright Resources to Support Publishing and Teaching

A guide for faculty, staff, and students at Penn about how to obtain, manage, and understand copyright issues for their work

Physical reserves

  • Faculty may place books, videos, journal articles and other materials on reserve.
  • To ensure maximum availability, reserve materials are generally charged out by the hour or overnight.
  • The main reserve room at Penn is Rosengarten Reserve, located in the Undergraduate Study Center on the ground floor of the Van Pelt Library and open all night during the fall and spring semesters.
  • In addition, each library on campus has a reserve section for materials in its collection.
  • When books are placed on reserve in Rosengarten or in school and departmental libraries, reserve locations are listed in Franklin, the online catalog.
  • Instructors should consult the Course Reserve Request page to initiate requests.

Information for Students

Click here for information on locating physical reserve materials in the libraries.

Electronic reserves

The Library provides access to reserve material electronically. Journal articles, book chapters and other materials are scanned and made available through Canvas (under Penn Libraries Course Reserves).

How do I get my materials scanned for e-reserves?

Reserve staff can help you scan materials for your class, under some conditions (see e-reserve policy below).  Go to to learn more or find out who can help you at

The basics

The Penn Libraries comply with copyright law (U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, 90 Stat 2541). When copying materials for reserve, the library follows provisions of the "fair use" section (Section 107) and considers the factors laid out in that section:

a) The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.

b) The nature of the copyrighted work.

c) The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.

d) The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyright work.

The Library may decline to place on reserve photocopies of several articles from a single journal issue or to scan several chapters from a book.

Instructors are responsible for obtaining permission of the copyright holder for materials that exceed fair use. Please note that out of stock or out of print does not mean the work is unprotected. Fair use tests apply to such materials unless they are in the public domain.

Copyright statement

Instructors who scan and mount their own electronic readings should include a copyright statement at the beginning of each protected document. The library uses the text below:


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproduction 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 electronic transmission of reserve materials is used for purposes in excess of what constitutes "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

University of Pennsylvania libraries E-Reserve policy

The policy governing electronic reserves at Penn libraries is based on the provisions of the United States Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.  The making of an electronic copy of a copyrighted work by any means (photocopying, scanning, or otherwise digitizing) constitutes reproduction that is governed by copyright law.  Penn libraries also recognize the provisions of “fair use” of the United States Copyright Act of 1976 (Section 107) which expressly permits the making of multiple copies for classroom use subject to these four factors:

  • The purpose and character of the use (whether commercial or non-profit)

  • The nature of the copyrighted work

  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Penn libraries will only make electronic reserves available through courseware (such as Canvas or other password protected software) that will limit access to those taking part in classes, seminars, symposia or other events held at the University of Pennsylvania.

Students or participants may

  • View,  download, or print copies from within the system

  • Make one copy of each item for private study, personal reading, scholarship, or educational purposes

When feasible, Penn libraries encourage the linking of syllabi and class materials to electronic resources already made available by the library.

All documents and resources scanned by Penn libraries for electronic reserves will be made available with proper attribution and copyright notices.

Faculty and students who place resources into courseware should be aware of copyright law and may need to seek permission before uploading copyrighted materials.

Unauthorized copies of copyrighted materials should not be posted or distributed

N.B. Permission may be required even when the work:

  • is available elsewhere on the internet

  • is being used in a course for the first time

  • is supplemental or ancillary material not directly required reading for a course

Penn libraries will continue to monitor developments in copyright law and revise this policy as necessary.

Need help?

For further assistance with copyright issues, you can begin with your subject specialist. You can also contact our Copyright Advisor for further referrals.

For questions about use of materials on reserve, contact Van Pelt Reserves or the librarian at your reserve location.