Copyright Policy

It is the policy of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Library to comply with Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) which governs the use of copyrighted materials for educational purposes, including permissible reproduction. All persons using the Library are expected to comply with this policy.


Copyright is the set of exclusive legal rights conferred on authors and content creators to copy, distribute, adapt, perform and display their works and to authorize others to do so.

  • A work should be presumed to be under copyright unless it was authored by the United States Government or was published before 1923 or was released into the public domain by the copyright owner.
  • The absence of a copyright notice, especially for works published after 1978, does not necessarily mean the work is not copyright protected.

Copyright infringement is the exercise of the rights of the copyright owner without the owner’s permission unless there is an exception to the owner’s rights granted by law.

Fair use (Section 107 of the United States copyright law) is an exception to the rights of copyright owners, allowing for limited use of copyrighted works, without permission, for purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship and research. Section 107, while allowing the copying of copyrighted works, does not define the amount that can lawfully be copied.

The law specifies four factors to be considered in determining whether use of a work is fair:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work.
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

In general, you may make one copy, digital or print, for your personal use of an article in a journal or a chapter in a book, as long as neither the article nor the chapter is inordinately long. A professor may make multiple copies of an article in a journal or a chapter in a book for classroom use only.

For more substantial photocopying, you must write to request written permission from the copyright holder (typically the author, the author’s estate, or the publisher) in order to make a photocopy.

Please respect the rights of those who have created the information you find interesting and useful.


Related Information

Copyright Law: http://www.copyright.gov/title17

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States: http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm

Know Your Copy Rights: http://www.knowyourcopyrights.org/

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries: http://www.arl.org/focus-areas/copyright-ip/fair-use/code-of-best-practices

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