Faculty/Staff

Copyright Guidelines for Coursepacks

A coursepack, or course packet, is a collection of readings photocopied and sold to students for assigned or optional reading in a course. There is no such thing as "fair use" for coursepacks. There is only "fair use" for separate items, such as a book chapter, article, poem, illustration, picture, etc.

What you may use in a coursepack without obtaining permission from the copyright owner:

  • Works not protected by copyright, such as facts, government documents, and works in the public domain
  • Works that you own
  • Works for which you have a license that permits this use

Do not:

  • Copy to substitute for the purchase of an anthology, collective work, or work intended to be "consumed" in the course of study or teaching
  • Repeat use of the same item from semester to semester
  • Charge students beyond the actual cost of the photocopying

The information available here will help faculty and staff understand their rights and responsibilities related to using print materials in coursepacks for non-profit educational use.

Rules of Thumb 

  • Limit what you photocopy to a single chapter from a book, or
  • Limit to a single article, essay, or story from a periodical issue or newspaper, or
  • Limit to a single chart, graph, or illustration from a book, periodical issue, or newspaper, or
  • Limit to other similary small parts of a work.
  • Include photocopies of no more than nine copyrighted works in a coursepack.
  • Include a bibliography in the coursepack with appropriate citation to the original source of each item in the packet.
  • Include a copyright notice and appropriate citation on each photocopy.
  • If your use is outside the scope of "fair use," obtain permission from the copyright owner for each item included in the coursepack. Save requests and responses in your personal files.

Washburn University Resources

Citing Sources

Additional Resources 

Copyright Clearance Center

Stanford University Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines - Academic Coursepacks