A coursepack is a collection of journal, magazine or newspaper
articles, book excerpts and other materials selected by a course
instructor for distribution to students as required or supplemental
reading. While coursepacks can be produced by libraries and print
services within an academic institution, they are also often produced
by external vendors such as copy shops.
Prior to 1991, it was believed that reproduction—primarily
by photocopying—for academic coursepacks qualified as fair
use. As a result, coursepack anthologies were often compiled and
distributed without the permission of copyright holders. Two court
decisions changed this thinking.
It is now well established that photocopying materials for academic
coursepacks requires permission from the copyright holder or its
agent. If your institution relies on external coursepack producers,
it is critical to confirm that these vendors have acquired the
appropriate copyright permission. Without this permission, both
the copy shop and the academic institution that orders the coursepacks
risk being found liable for copyright infringement.
E-coursepacks are online collections of journal, magazine or
newspaper articles, book excerpts and other materials that a course
instructor gathers as required or supplemental reading for students.
E-coursepacks, like their paper-based counterparts, require copyright
permission from the copyright holder or its agent.
Obtaining Copyright Permission for Coursepacks
The course instructor, librarian or the coursepack producer (copy
shop) may be responsible for obtaining the necessary rights to
include copyrighted material in a coursepack. Check your institutional
copyright compliance policy to determine the appropriate procedures
for your institution. When requesting copyright permission for
coursepack materials, be sure to include:
- As much information as possible about your specific use (photocopy,
intranet posting or use with a course management system),
- The length of time you wish to use the materials, and
- The number of students expected to have access to these works.
Based on the information you provide, Copyright Clearance Center
or the copyright holder will specify permission details, terms
and conditions, as well as any applicable fees.
Copyright permission for coursepacks is usually granted by the
academic period. To reuse a coursepack in subsequent academic
periods (e.g.: semester, quarter, trimester, etc.), you probably
need to obtain permission again. Many copyright holders provide
time-sensitive permission because their own rights may be time-sensitive
and could be transferred to different copyright holders at any