During the discussions leading to the enactment of the 1976 Copyright
Act, the following guidelines were published as part of the House
of Representatives Report on the pending bill (H.R. Rep. 94-1476,
The purpose of these guidelines is to help educators interpret
the fair use provisions relating to classroom copying for educational
use. These guidelines are not part of the copyright legislation
nor are they legally binding. As part of the legislative history
of the 1976 Copyright Act, however, they may be helpful in determining
Congress's intent in interpreting fair use.
The guidelines do not cover academic coursepacks. To
use copyrighted material in academic coursepacks, permission must
be obtained from the copyright holder or a licensing agent. Click
here for more information on photocopying for coursepacks.
- SINGLE COPYING FOR TEACHERS:
A single copy of the following items may be made for a teacher's
scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach
- A chapter from a book.
- An article from a periodical or newspaper.
- A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not
from a collective work.
- A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from
a book, periodical or newspaper.
- MULTIPLE COPIES FOR CLASSROOM USE:
Multiple copies (not to exceed more than one copy per pupil
in a course) may be made by or for a teacher giving a course
for classroom use or discussion, provided that:
- The copying meets the tests of brevity and
spontaneity as defined below; and
- Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below, and
- Each copy includes a notice of copyright.
- Poetry: (a) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if
printed on not more than two pages or (b) an excerpt of not
more than 250 words from a longer poem.
- Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story or essay of less
than 2,500 words or (b) an excerpt from any prose work provided
the excerpt is not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work,
whichever is less, and a minimum of 500 words.
(Each of the numerical limits stated in "i" and
"ii" above may be expanded to permit the completion
of an unfinished line of a poem or an unfinished prose paragraph.)
- Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon
or picture per book or per periodical issue.
- "Special" works: Certain works in poetry, prose
or "poetic prose" which often combine language with
illustrations and are intended for children and/or a more general
audience fall short of 2,500 words in length. Such "special
works" may not be reproduced in their entirety. However,
an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages
and not more than 10% of the words found in the text may be
- The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual
- The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment
of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in
time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply
to a request for permission.
- The copying of the material is for only one course in the
school in which the copies are made.
- Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two
excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three
from the same collective work or periodical volume during one
- There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple
copying for one course during one class term.
(The limitations stated in "ii" and "iii"
above shall not apply to current news periodicals, newspapers
and current news sections of other periodicals.)
- Copying shall not be used to create, replace or substitute
for anthologies, compilations or collective works. Such replacement
or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or
excerpts there from are accumulated or are reproduced and used
- There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be
"consumable" in the course of study or teaching –
such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, test booklets
and answer sheets.
- Copying shall not:
- substitute for the purchase of books, publisher's reprints
- be directed by higher authority,
- be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher
from term to term.
- No charge shall be made to the student beyond the actual
cost of the photocopying.