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Copyright for Faculty & Staff: Copying Books & Periodicals

A focus on copyright issues which may concern TCC faculty and staff -- including fair use, the TEACH Act, public domain and other copyright exceptions and issues. Nothing in this guide is to be construed as legal advice.

GUIDELINES (overview)--CLASSROOM COPYING (books, periodicals)

The Tulsa Community College (TCC) Guidelines for classroom copying are the minimum standards of permissible copying of books and periodicals for educational purposes based on the standard of fair use under U.S. copyright law.  Conditions determining the extent of permissible copying for educational purposes may change in the future--certain types of copying permitted under these guidelines may not be permissible in the future and other types of copying not permitted under these guidelines may be permissible under revised guidelines in the future. The TCC Guidelines are not intended to limit the types of copying permitted under the standards of fair use, stated in U.S. copyright law. There may be instances in which copying does not fall within the guidelines stated below but may nonetheless be permitted under the standard of fair use.

Single or multiple copies from books or periodicals shall not be used to create or to replace or substitute for anthologies, compilation, or collective works.

Copyrighted workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, test booklets, answer sheets, and other “consumable” materials (e.g. works intended to be consumed in the course of study or in the course of teaching) shall not be copied.

Single or multiple copies from books or periodicals shall not be substituted for the purchase of books, publisher’s reprints, or periodicals.

Copying of the same item by the same TCC faculty member shall not be repeated from semester to semester.

A TCC student shall not be charged a fee for single or multiple copies from books or periodicals that is beyond the actual cost of the copying.

GUIDELINES (single copying for instructors )--CLASSROOM COPYING (books, periodicals)

A single copy may be made of any of the following material by or for a TCC faculty member at his/her individual request for his/her scholarly research, for use in teaching, or for preparation to teach a class: 

               1) a chapter from a book;

               2) an article from a periodical or newspaper;

               3) a short story, short essay or short poem (whether or not from a collective work); or

               4) a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper.

GUIDELINES (multiple copies for classroom use)--CLASSROOM COPYING (books, periodicals)

Multiple copies for classroom use or discussion (no more than one copy per student in a course on any single occasion) may be made by or for the TCC faculty member giving the course, provided that: 1) the copying meets the test of brevity and spontaneity (see below); 2) the copying meets the cumulative effect test (see below); and 3) each copy includes a notice of copyright. 



  • For poetry, brevity means a complete poem of less than 250 words or an excerpt of not more than 250 words from a longer poem.
  • For prose, brevity means a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words or an excerpt of not more than 1,000 words or ten percent(10%) of the work (whichever is less) from any prose work more than 2,500 words.
  • For illustrations, brevity means one chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical.
  • For "special works" (poetry or prose of less than 2,500 words which combines language with illustrations and which is intended for children or a more general audience), brevity means an excerpt of not more than two of the published pages of the special work (containing not more than 10 percent of the words found in the text).

(Note: The brevity limits permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or completion of an unfinished prose paragraph.) 



Spontaneity means that an individual TCC faculty member is inspired to use a copyrighted work and that the decision to use the work is made too close in time to reasonably request permission of the copyright holder.



  • Cumulative effect means that for any single TCC course section during a semester, no more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author and no more than three short poems, articles, stories, essays or excerpts may be copied from a collective work or periodical volume.
  • Also, cumulative effect means that no more than nine instances of multiple copying will be permitted for any single TCC course section during one semester.  

(Note:  The two sets of cumulative effect limitations listed above do not apply to copies from current news periodicals, newspapers, and current news sections of other periodicals.)

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