Copyright Policies for Course Reserves

The Library supports classroom instruction and the University's academic mission by providing students access to required course-related materials through the Course Reserve system. Reserve materials can be in physical format (hard copies of books, DVDs and CDs), e-reserves (PDFs of book chapters, articles, handouts, etc.), or streaming media.

The policy below ensures protection of both the rights of copyright holders and the fair use rights available to the academic community. Our Course Materials page provides additional information on how you can use copyrighted works in your teaching. The Library's Fair Use Evaluation Worksheet may help you determine whether fair use applies to your e-reserves and streaming media request(s).

Scanning Print Materials

The Library makes e-reserves available under the provisions of §107 of the Copyright Law of the United States (fair use). To ensure protection of rights of both copyright holders and the academic community, the following restrictions apply to all e-reserve material:

  • Entire books or journal issues will not be scanned and placed on e-reserve.
  • Materials created and marketed primarily for use in the type of course being offered will not be placed on e-reserve. This includes:
    • lab manuals
    • workbooks
    • coursepacks
  • Articles that are available in the Library's electronic databases will not be uploaded as PDFs; instead, we will include a link to the article in your Canvas course site.
  • Materials are placed on e-reserve for instructors and students registered for the course. A current Georgetown University NetID and password are required to access these materials in Canvas.
  • A copyright notice and original source information will be provided for each work.
  • The determination regarding how much of a work may be used is made by evaluating all four of the fair use factors.
    • Purpose and character of the use - nonprofit educational uses, like research, teaching, and scholarship are generally favored under fair use analysis; the Library's e-reserves policy allows instructors to provide limited portions of copyrighted material to enrich their curriculums with a unique perspective or argument not found in the course materials purchased or licensed by students
    • Nature of the copyrighted work – using material from primarily factual works is more likely to be considered fair use than using material from highly creative works
    • Amount and substantiality of the portion used - using small portions from a copyrighted work is more likely to be considered fair use than using a larger portion of the work; there should be a clear connection between the instructor’s pedagogical purpose and the amount of materials used; for an example of how one court has analyzed the four fair use factors for e-reserves, see these excerpts from the Georgia State case (Cambridge Univ. Press v. Becker, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35134 (2020)
    • Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work  -  uses that do not affect the market for the copyrighted work are more likely to be considered fair


Streaming Media

Streaming DVDs on ShareStream

  • Media will only be reformatted for streaming when permission has been granted or it falls within fair use. Read more on our Reformatting Media page.
  • Access to streaming media will be limited to the instructor and students registered for the course.
  • Streaming media will be available only to users with a current Georgetown University NetID and password.
  • The number of concurrent users on the streaming site may be limited.
  • Access to streaming media will be terminated at the end of the semester.
  • A copyright notice and full attribution will be provided for each work.

Requesting Reserves

To request items for course reserve, please submit the appropriate form.

If you need further assistance, please call (202) 687-7607 or email

Notice on Limits of E-Reserves

The Library reserves the right to refuse materials for course reserve if, in our judgment, the request would exceed fair use or otherwise constitute copyright infringement. In such cases, we will contact you to determine how to best fulfill your request, including (i) exploring other options or formats for making the requested material available, or (ii) obtaining permission for use of the work if available at a reasonable cost.