Use of free examination copies for reserves

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  • An instructor would like to put an examination copy of a book on reserve for his class. The copy carries this notice "This work was provided free of charge to an instructor solely for evaluation and/or pedagogical purposes. Sale, resale, or further dissemination of this work will contribute to higher costs of textbooks for students and is prohibited." I would assume this means the book could not be put on reserve but would we be able to claim it is for "pedagogical purposes."

    I see similar notices more and more on examination copies. Instructors often want to donate these books to the library and I hesitate accepting them.

    I'd appreciate any input on this.

  • This isn't actually a copyright issue, but rather licensing. Many libraries interpret these notices as binding and refuse to add the books to their collections. Others consider that even if the licenses are binding, they wouldn't be binding on the library, since the library isn't party to the original agreement.

    While courts have upheld shrinkwrap or clickthrough licenses, there is some argument as to whether or not a sticker on the cover is sufficient to be equivalent. My own personal take is that I would tend not to think that the stickers were binding, but I would probably generally avoid adding such materials to the collection out of a general sense of fairness. However, I'm not at an expert in licensing law. I would encourage you to check with such an expert (maybe one will even respond here!), especially if there are some tempting books that might otherwise be difficult for you to obtain.
  • You get me confuse the different between "copyright" and "licensing" there...However, I'm learning things around copyright so trying to understand it though...

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