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Copyright, Fair Use, and Course Reserves

Guide to assist faculty with copyright compliance and determine fair use in academia

Copyright and Fair Use
Instructors are responsible for compliance with copyright and fair use of course materials as well as for adhering to license agreements for SHU Library-licensed eResources.

In consideration of the fair use exception to U.S. copyright law, limited portions of a work can be placed on eReserve. The Library does not purchase materials for course reserves. Instructors are encouraged to draw course materials from the Library’s physical or online collections. 

Readings should not remain available to students on eReserve longer than one semester without copyright permission. Refer to explanations of “Fair Use” for more information. Being that fair use laws are discretionary, it is recommended that faculty use a fair use checklist for proper evaluation of a resource.

To avoid possible copyright infringement, faculty are encouraged to utilize the Library Resource Builder tool (see below).

Library Resource Builder

Faculty can utilize the Library Resource Builder tool to create eReserve reading lists that contain stable direct links to library resources directly from Blackboard. Library staff do not scan or copy articles that are available through the library's electronic databases or have copyright licenses permitting the use and distribution of the material, such as Creative Commons licenses.

The library will provide training and assist faculty with creating reading lists using Library Resource Builder. After initial setup, it will be the responsibility of the individual faculty members to maintain, update, and transfer reading lists. Library staff will continue to be available for support and troubleshooting. 

For more information about the tool, see the Library Resource Builder page. For questions about Library Resource Builder or to schedule training, contact

Materials not owned by SHU Library

If a resource is not available through the library’s physical collection or subscription databases, it is the responsibility of the faculty member to obtain the item and post it on Blackboard. If a faculty member has access to a resource through other means, it is their responsibility to post those resources on Blackboard as well.

The decision to post items obtained outside of SHU library's collections is solely that of the faculty member. 

The library will offer support and resources to evaluate fair use but is not liable for challenged materials. For help with determining copyright restrictions and evaluating fair use, more information can be found on the library's Fair Use page.

Materials (physical) owned by SHU Library for eReserves

Materials owned on campus may be made available electronically to SHU students and faculty engaged in long distance education. 

In accordance with U.S. Copyright Law, the library will scan journal articles or acceptable portions of print books owned by the library. Scanned PDF files will be emailed directly to faculty for posting in Blackboard.

To request scans of physical materials owned by the library, faculty must fill out the scan request form below.

Scan request for library print materials


Online faculty working with Wiley Course Designers or Learning Technologists should streamline communication through that channel. Librarians will work directly with Wiley Course Designers or Learning Technologists to assist and support faculty

All other faculty who would like to include eReserves in their courses are encouraged to use Library Resource Builder in Blackboard. For assistance using Library Resource Builder, or support with putting library owned physical materials on eReserve contact