CODE OF BEST PRACTICES IN FAIR USE FOR ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH LIBRARIES
• The case for fair use is enhanced when libraries prompt instructors, who are
most likely to understand the educational purpose and transformative nature
of the use, to indicate briefly in writing why particular material is requested,
and why the amount requested is appropriate to that pedagogical purpose. An
instructor’s justiﬁcation can be expressed via standardized forms that provide a
balanced menu of common or recurring fair use rationales.
• In order to assure the continuing relevance of those materials to course content,
libraries should require instructors of recurrently offered courses to review
posted materials and make updates as appropriate.
USING SELECTIONS FROM COLLECTION MATERIALS TO PUBLICIZE
A LIBRARY’S ACTIVITIES, OR TO CREATE PHYSICAL AND VIRTUAL
Academic and research libraries have always sought publicity of a certain kind—in
order to introduce themselves, their services, and their valuable holdings to potential
students, scholars, and others, as well as to attract donors of materials and to assure
administrators and funders of their ﬁdelity to mission. Just as libraries have chosen
in the past to display their holdings through on-site exhibitions, or through in-house
publications ranging from simple newsletters to glossy magazines, they now use
the Internet as a tool for making themselves known. Library websites have become
extremely important modes of access for library patrons, and most temporary
physical exhibitions now have permanent virtual counterparts. While the lawfulness
of past practices has been widely (and correctly) assumed, the use of new technology
adds a new dimension to the issue. The wider audience that online exhibits reach,
and the possibility of downstream misuse, could lead librarians to avoid online uses,
but in fact these uses can be just as fair as their physical counterparts.
Section 109(c) of the Copyright Act provides a safe harbor for certain on-site
exhibits. However, exhibition and related illustrative uses, whether physical or
virtual, can also be transformative. They highlight and publicize library collections
and stimulate interest in the individual original works of which they are comprised.
Exhibits place original works in a new context to convey information and illustrate