Course Reserves: Copyright Guidelines

USC Libraries electronic reserves service complies with the guidelines for photocopied or scanned material established by copyright law as interpreted by the University Counsel. 

Copyright statement 

"The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research". If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use", that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law."

For additional information please see the U.S. Copyright Law of the United states. The following outlines our copyright policies regarding materials placed on reserve.

In order to operate within the guidelines of "fair use" while striving to provide access to research materials, IDD' maintains copyright policies for Reserves requests.

Physical Materials

Physical items such as books or DVDs placed on reserve do not need any form of copyright or publisher authorization.  To place a physical item on reserve, you will need to submit the request in ARES which is routed to the designated reserve desk. USC-owned material will be pulled from the shelves after a request for the physical reserve is placed in ARES. 

An instructor can submit their own personal copy to be placed on reserve or request for USC-owned material to be placed on reserve. Please keep in mind that personal books/DVDs are used by your students and normal wear and tear may occur. USC Libraries assumes no liability for damage to personal items placed on reserve. If you are dropping off a physical item to be placed on reserve, you will be asked to complete a Drop-Off form.

Request to Purchase Material 

Please note that if neither a personal copy is provided or if the book/DVD is not owned by USC, you can still place the request and select the option to be considered for purchase and added to the USC library collection.  Please note, textbooks do not qualify for purchase since updated book editions are constantly being published.  Please see Request to Purchase a book/DVD for Reserves under ARES Deadlines for more information.  

Articles and Book Chapters

In addition to placing physical books on reserve, ARES processes and posts articles and chapters from books electronically.  You can submit your own photocopies for scanning at the Leavey Library circulation desk.  Please note that photocopies will not be returned unless specifically requested. Any photocopies submitted must include the title and copyright page information of either the book from which it was copied or the journal from which the article is found.  You can find this information on the reverse of the title page on the book or on the publication information of the journal article.  Posting of the materials will be delayed if the copyright statement is not included.

Our copyright guidelines for article and book chapter requests are as follows:

  • Article: no more than two articles from a single issue of a periodical or journal can be posted
  • Book Chapters: no more then two chapters from a single work or 15% from the book (whichever is less)


Please note that we cannot scan an entire book or other work, nor can we post an electronic copy of an entire work that may be uploaded to ARES.  We can, however, post links to full-text works that are available through USC Libraries e-resources or on the internet.

ARES allows the instructor to submit reserve requests without submitting copies of journal articles or book chapters.  If you would like for the library staff to provide the article/chapter in question please choose the "Pull from Shelf" option when submitting a request in ARES.  Please note that the "Pull from Shelf" option places the responsibility on Library staff to obtain the assigned material, whether from the libraries collection or Interlibrary Loan, and the copyright information.


Material that can be posted on ARES without copyright information include:

  • Syllabi
  • Sample tests
  • Sample test answers
  • Answer key to questions

 If you are unsure if copyright information is needed please contact the IDD office or (213) 740-4020