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University Library DePaul Library

Copyright Clearance at DePaul

In order for the University Library to maintain adherence to copyright clearance guidelines, any requests that exceed CONTU guidelines, Rule of 2 guidelines, or Fair Use guidelines will be denied. The ILL or Course Reserves staff (dependent upon the type of request placed) will notify you if your request cannot be fulfilled due to copyright violations. For more information on copyright, please see the University's policy on Copyright and Fair Use and the Teaching Commons page on Copyright and the Classroom.

Interlibrary Loan and Copyright Clearance

CONTU Guidelines:

 “5/5/1 Rule” for borrowing library;

Interlibrary loan requests for articles from a journal title published fewer than five years before date of request must not exceed more than five articles from the single journal title in a calendar year.

Summary: No more than 5 articles / last 5 years / 1 specific journal title in 1 calendar year.


Rule of Two Guidelines:

"Rule of Two" for borrowing library;

Libraries may provide one article, per issue, per patron without requesting copyright permission; you must request copyright permission and pay any applicable royalty fees for the second and subsequent copies.

Summary: No more than 1 copy of a specific article from a journal for a specific patron.

Fair Use for Course Reserves and Interlibrary Loan

Fair Use Guidelines:

"Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances." [Taken from]

"Fair Use" for copying or digitizing of physical materials or media not owned by the library;

Under the fair use doctrine, copyrighted material can be used for the purposes of teaching, scholarship, or research with limitations under Copyright Law. In regards to Interlibrary loan requests for photocopies from books, the fair use standard is no more than 10% or one chapter of a book (whichever is less of the whole of the work). The fair use standard for video not owned by the library is no more than 10% or one clip from a video (whichever is less of the whole video) can be digitized and used. This applies per volume of a series (ex. an episode from a series).

Summary: No more than 10% or 1 chapter (which ever is less) of a book will be requested for photocopy request via Interlibrary Loan or 10% or one clip from a video (whichever is less of the whole video) can be digitized and used.


"Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use. Section 107 calls for consideration of the following four factors in evaluating a question of fair use:

  1. Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes: Courts look at how the party claiming fair use is using the copyrighted work, and are more likely to find that nonprofit educational and noncommercial uses are fair. This does not mean, however, that all nonprofit education and noncommercial uses are fair and all commercial uses are not fair; instead, courts will balance the purpose and character of the use against the other factors below. Additionally, “transformative” uses are more likely to be considered fair. Transformative uses are those that add something new, with a further purpose or different character, and do not substitute for the original use of the work.

  2. Nature of the copyrighted work: This factor analyzes the degree to which the work that was used relates to copyright’s purpose of encouraging creative expression. Thus, using a more creative or imaginative work (such as a novel, movie, or song) is less likely to support a claim of a fair use than using a factual work (such as a technical article or news item). In addition, use of an unpublished work is less likely to be considered fair.

  3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole: Under this factor, courts look at both the quantity and quality of the copyrighted material that was used. If the use includes a large portion of the copyrighted work, fair use is less likely to be found; if the use employs only a small amount of copyrighted material, fair use is more likely. That said, some courts have found use of an entire work to be fair under certain circumstances. And in other contexts, using even a small amount of a copyrighted work was determined not to be fair because the selection was an important part—or the “heart”—of the work.

  4. Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work: Here, courts review whether, and to what extent, the unlicensed use harms the existing or future market for the copyright owner’s original work. In assessing this factor, courts consider whether the use is hurting the current market for the original work (for example, by displacing sales of the original) and/or whether the use could cause substantial harm if it were to become widespread." [Taken from]