textbooks on reserve

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  • I was wondering if other libraries are still using faculty copies to put on reserve in the library, since this is from 2007.. I cannot find any reference forbidding this practice except at Wiley. For instance Pearson or McGraw Hill. Thanks in advance. Gwen

  • Hello Gwen:

    I had to re-post your question because I accidently deleted it.

    Yes, you may place a faculty copies of texts on reserve.  One reason is the first sale doctrine. Once you lawfully acquire a title, you can distribute that copy by lending, sharing, selling etc. That copy is yours and the rights holder cannot control how you distribute that copy that you hold in your hands.

    Sometimes faculty may recieve free copies of a book from a publisher. These are usually labelled "not for re-sale" or something like that.  We tend to abide by this rule because the publisher is giving you a free copy and that is different than actually buying a copy.

    I don't know why Wiley says that the first sale does not apply to their titles, unless they are talking about these promotional, free copies. Or unless you signed a license saying that you would not lend Wiley books. Congress writes the copyright law and not Wiley.

    One idea moving forward, is to think what is allowed rather than what is forbidden. Congress wanted books, knowledge and creativity to circulate for the betterment of society. And libraries and educational institutions have a mission to do the same.

    Good luck!









  • Hi Gwen,

    I’m seconding everything Carrie has said. Generally, having a policy that states faculty cannot lend out free copies they are given by publishers or merely printing a notice in copies of books given to faculty stating that faculty cannot give them away or lend them to the library does not trump the first sale rights faculty would normally have under Section 109 of US copyright law. The case UMG v. Agusto provides us with some insight into this, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a nice write-up about the case here: https://www.eff.org/cases/umg-v-augusto.

    Carrie mentioned signing away first sale rights via a license. To date, I’m not aware of any faculty who’ve been asked to sign such an agreement when receiving a free copy of a book from a publisher but if you are worried about this then you could ask faculty at the time they drop-off their personal copy of the book if they signed such a license and, if so, encourage them to review the license terms to see if it would forbid lending the copy to the library to circulation on reserve.




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