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Copyright and Fair Use @ UH Manoa: Guidelines for Faculty

Copyright guidelines for the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library and information for faculty and students on copyright and fair use of materials in education

Knowing when permissions are needed

The following are our in-house guidelines for determining what can be placed on course reserve at UHM Library based on our interpretation of copyright law. For all other materials, permission from the copyright holder is needed. For more information, please visit the Course Reserve page.

What may be placed on course reserve without a written copyright permission for one semester ONLY?  

  • A chapter from a book (or 10% whichever is larger)
  • An article from a periodical, scholarly journal, or newspaper
  • A short story, short essay or short poem, whether published by itself or in a collective work.  A chart, graph, diagrams, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, scholarly journal, or newspaper.
  • If an item is available as electronic form streaming, media, audio, and text and the library’s license allows, a hyperlink to the text will be setup.
  • Materials that are clearly owned and created by the person submitting the materials (copyright owner)
  • Materials registered in Creative commons with a license that allows use.
  • Media copied from off-air* (including cable) programs 45 day Limit*

What may NOT be digitized for course reserve without copyright permission? (Possible exceptions: materials that are out-of-print, difficult to locate, or not owned by library)

  • A copy of the entire book
  • More than one chapter of a single book (or more than 10%)
  • More than one article from a single periodical or newspaper issue
  • More than one selection from an anthology or collection
  • More than one chart, graph, diagrams, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a single book, periodical scholarly journal, or newspaper
  • Interlibrary loan materials
  • Media copied from commercial tapes or DVD


  • Reserve materials not in compliance with copyright law will be removed from the reserve system
  • The Library will not mirror or link to materials that are illegally posted on the web
  • The Library staff maintains the right to refuse placement on reserves any materials it judges to be beyond the boundaries of fair use.
  • The Library reserves the right to change the copyright policy as necessary

Obtaining Permission

Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and web sites. You need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder (i.e. outside the boundaries of fair use).

Steps that need to be followed to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:

  1. Determine if permission is needed for the work you want to use.
  2. Identify the copyright holder or agent. 
  3. Send written request for permission to use (see Sample Copyright Permission Letter below). Remember to give yourself ample lead time, as the process for obtaining permissions can take months. Decide if you are willing to pay a licensing fee/royalty.
  4. If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), be prepared to use a limited amount that qualifies for fair use, or use alternative material.