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Course Reserves

Copyright for Course Reserves
This guide should not be construed as a substitute for legal advice, nor is this resource comprehensive on the subject of copyright.


  • UHM instructors are responsible for obtaining copyright permission for items they request to place on reserve.
  • The library does not provide interpretation of copyright laws, nor does our site substitute for expert legal advice. 
  • The library assumes all submitted material is copyright compliant and reserves the right to not accept material that, in its judgment, violates copyright.
Fair Use

Fair Use allows for limited use of copyrighted materials for educational and research purposes. The statute outlines four factors to assess whether access may be considered Fair Use:

1. the purpose and character of your use
2. the nature of the copyrighted work
3. the amount and sustainability of the portion taken, and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market.

Use the Checklist for Fair Use (provided by ALA - American Library Association) to determine the portion of a scan from a book or from a journal issue qualifies under Fair Use.

  • Please complete and retain a copy of this form in connection with each possible "fair use" of a copyrighted work for your project.
  • Each copyrighted item requires independent review for consideration.
Face to Face Teaching Exemption for Media Items

Current copyright law (17 U.S.C. §110(1)) provides an exemption to copyright for in-person class instructors to display a media copyrighted material for educational, teaching purposes. Examples of common situations may be as follows:

  • Students registered for the class may watch a film on an instruction day
  • Films may be shown in another room designated for instruction, such as a film screening room. Public spaces such as lounges, eating areas, that are otherwise not meant for formal instruction do not qualify.

To qualify for the exemption, the media must be legally obtained.

Teach Act

The 2002 Teach Act is a limited extension of Face to Face exemption for distance education and learning. Access provided by the Teach Act applies strictly to online courses and its registered students.

Overarching requirements of the material must be:

  • Directly related to content of the courses
  • Incorporated during mediated instruction under the supervision of the official instructor and may not be used for supplemental online reading, viewing, or listening.

Technological restraints:

  • Content must only be accessible to students enrolled in course and only in the duration of a class session
  • Content must be protected from further distribution and not subject to retention by students

An excellent and easy to use checklist to determine if your media qualifies under the Teach Act is provided by the University of Texas.

FAQ - Copyright for Course Reserves

What copyright law do we follow?
Title 17 USC, Section 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use.

Who is responsible for obtaining copyright permission?
Faculty are responsible for obtaining copyright permission for items they request to place on reserve 

Will the library provide an interpretation of the copyright laws?
No, we are not lawyers and so we cannot provide an interpretation for another person. 

What is Fair Use?
Fair Use is a concept embedded in U.S. law that recognizes that certain uses of copyright-protected works do not require permission from the copyright holder.

Examples of materials that are okay to use under the fair use doctrine?  

  • University of Hawai’i at Manoa Library books & media  
  • Instructor’s personal copies of books, journals & media  
  • Links to material legally on the internet, including electronic and streaming databases  
  • Instructor’s created materials including exams/quizzes, lecture notes, handouts, homework solutions, audio, video, slides, graphics, or study guides can be digitized or placed in hard copy or both  
  • Works within the public domain.

Electronic Reserves follow the four factors of Fair Use:

  • 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 sustainability 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 

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

  • The general rule, scan between 10% to 20% of a book
  • 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, diagram, 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*
  • Streamed media owned by library collection only under the condition the materials on this course website are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.

What may NOT be digitized for course reserve without copyright permission?
We reserve the right to refuse to digitize films/books that have the potential to violate the UH Mānoa Library policy and/or current copyright laws. 

  • A copy of the entire book that is still under copyright
  • Inter-Library Loan materials
  • Personally recorded media from off-air sources or dubs from commercial media must be accompanied by written copyright approval.

Media Digitization Copyright

  • If a video is already available on commercial streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, AppleTV, Vudu, etc. we will not digitize the video.  
    • We believe from a Spring 2016 survey that between 75-90% of undergraduate students at UHM have access to Netflix; those who do not currently have access can either watch the film on physical reserves or sign up for Netflix for the semester, often for less than the cost of a textbook.  Amazon digital movies can also be rented individually for a small fee.
  • Please contact Vicky Lebbin (, Interim Associate University Librarian, Office of Planning, Administration, and Personnel, if you have any questions or concerns.

Please contact Course Reserves to discuss your request.