Copyright & Fair Use

The following are guidelines set by federal law:

The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

A work doesn’t need to be published or registered in order for it to be protected by copyright law. The absence of a copyright insignia on a published work doesn’t indicate that it is unprotected. Since March 1, 1989, copyright notice has not been a requirement for copyright protection.

Fair Use is a much disputed area of copyright law, and is frequently seen from opposing views at the same time and in the same place. While nonprofit educational uses are generally favored, a nonprofit educational purpose doesn’t automatically make any use a fair use. There are no legally set guidelines to determine Fair Use. Some attempts have been made to set guidelines but no court or congress has ever read them into law. Fair Use must be determined according to the circumstances that exist in each situation using the equal application and consideration of four factors. They are:

  • The purpose or character of the use
  • The nature of the copyrighted work being used
  • The amount and substantiality of the work being used

The effect of the use on the market for or value of the original Faculty members and staff need to be aware that there are definite rules and restrictions on how photocopies of journal articles and other ILL materials are used at Skidmore. If we became aware of an improper usage, we would have to terminate that request or delivery of materials.

If you have further questions regarding Copyright & Fair Use, you may contact the Interlibrary Loan Office or for more information, see Skidmore’s Copyright Policy.


Interlibrary Loan Office
phone: (518) 580-5520
fax: (518) 580-5540
Scribner Library 211
Monday-Friday: 9:00am - 4:00pm

Sandra Brown
(518) 580-5543
Interlibrary Loan Coordinator