Copyright Compliance Regarding Coursepacks

When considering the use of copyrighted material in coursepacks, anthologies, or classroom handouts within the scope of your educational courses, the policy of The Texas A&M University System Policy on Copyright is to conform to all applicable laws, including U.S. Copyright Law.

Although copying all or part of a work without obtaining copyright permission may appear to be an easy and convenient solution, such unauthorized copying can frequently violate the rights of the author or publisher of the copyrighted work. And, while there is always a concern for student budgets, obtaining course materials legally by acquiring the necessary copyright permissions is of importance to the protection of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus and its academic community.

The fact that materials are reproduced for coursepacks, anthologies, or classroom handouts for educational purposes alone does not make the use a fair one. In an effort to offer "a reasonable interpretation of the minimum standards of fair use" in an educational setting, Congress endorsed the fair use guidelines for educators making multiple copies of portions of books and periodicals for use in the classrooms called the Classroom Guidelines. However, these guidelines expressly prohibit some types of copying as not being fair use, such as making unauthorized coursepacks. Therefore, faculty wishing to create coursepacks, anthologies, or to post copyrighted material on web sites should know:

  • There are advantages to using a source/vendor that clears copyright legally.
  • If you choose to clear copyrights yourself, you should keep copies of the permission agreements and always keep a copy of a permission agreement if you turn the original over to a supplier. Procedures for clearing permissions are detailed in Questions and Answers on Copyright for the Campus Community.
  • Many copyright permissions can be obtained within a couple of days but sometimes it may require at least six to eight weeks to obtain the necessary permission.
  • You will have to exclude from your coursepacks or anthologies any copyrighted materials for which permission has not been granted.
  • Permission, unless otherwise stated by the publisher or copyright holder, generally must be sought for each use of the material for each semester, even if the coursepack is identical from semester to semester.
  • Putting copyrighted materials on a web site does not change the need to obtain copyright permission.

Texas A&M University-Kingsville appreciates the effort that you put into identifying and developing your course materials. We hope this letter provides valuable information to aid in your materials selection process.

This page was last updated on: January 4, 2016