Book Reproduction

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  • I'm a solo working in a for-profit, private, post-secondary university. I have a book on reserve that is out-of-print. The instructor put it on reserve because she doesn't have permission to include the chapters in their course note packs. Now I have a large group of her students requesting to take the book to a copying store to reproduce it at a discount. Because the school is for-profit I've used the Fair Use Table to determine if its use favors fair use or opposes it. I've told the students NO becuase they would be reproducing approximately 3/4 of the book. I want to know if my thinking is correct. How liable am I if I let the students reproduce the book? What should I do if I am made to let the students take the book to be copied?

    Also, the University has decided to make its Course Note Packs available through a password protected page of its Website. Alot of the packs include entire articles that the instructors have not received permission to include in their packs. Can the University get in trouble even though the page is password protected?
  • For the first question -- the library is not liable for anything the student might do while they have borrowed the item. That's why libraries put those copyright warnings on their photocopiers. If the student borrows and then copies the entire item, it's their responsibility, not the library's. It's a sort of don't ask, don't tell situation...if you allow items to leave the library, just plug your ears when they say they're running over to Kinko's with it.

    As far as the second question -- if this is the first usage of these items, you should be in the clear. You need to consider whether your reserve usage is fair (see some of the excellent resources about e-reserves on our wiki for help). If you feel you need to get permission for an item, it can stay up while the process is pending. If these items are up for the second or more continuous semester, many libraries interpret this as a situation where you absolutely must get permission. You're on a bit shakier ground keeping them up for consecutive semesters while permission is pending. But the password protection is a very good thing.
  • Oops, I skimmed over the for-profit school part of your question. I think the first part of my answer still stands, but you might need to adhere to a stricter interpretation of seeking permission for the second part.

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