Reserves and Copyright

Some materials may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, United States Code). The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted materials. University Libraries works closely with the University’s Copyright Office to comply with the provisions of this law. The Fair Use Factors are enumerated in Title 17 U.S.Code, Section 107. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
*All four factors must be considered when making a determination of fair use and each decision will be based on the specific request.
The following Electronic Reserves and Copyright Procedures have been established by George Mason University Libraries regarding Electronic Reserves:
  • Faculty may be limited by the number of copyrighted articles which may be digitized for electronic reserves for each course.
  • Entire out-of-print books will not be digitized.
  • Fair Use may apply for the digitization of up to three (3) articles from a single periodical volume, as long as these articles have not been previously placed on electronic reserve, been part of a course pack, or are already available in a library database.
  • To ensure that materials are available only to authorized users, passwords will be assigned to each class for which materials are placed on electronic reserve.
  • Instructors will be notified of the password when their materials are placed on electronic reserve.
  • Electronic reserve documents are accessible only by instructor’s name and course title. Materials are not searchable by title, author, subject, or keyword.
  • The full bibliographic citation must be visible on the first page of each document.
  • At the end of each semester, an electronic reserve document will become inaccessible.

For more information about Electronic Course Reserves, please contact or Cynthia Bentley,
For questions about fair use and using copyrighted works, please contact Claudia Holland, at the Copyright Resources Office in the Johnson Center Library on the Fairfax Campus.
Questions about the system software should be directed to the Digital Programs and Systems Office.