Contact: Carrie Russell

Copyright Specialist

ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy

For Immediate Release

November 21, 2003

ACRL Issues Statement on Fair Use and Electronic Reserves Systems

The Association of College and Research Libraries' (ACRL), ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of American Law Libraries (AALL), the Medical Library Association (MLA), and the Special Libraries Association (SLA) have issued a new Statement on Fair Use and Electronic Reserves, in response to confusion about the TEACH Act and ongoing uncertainty regarding e-reserves and fair use. The statement can be found on ACRL's Web site at (click Issues & Advocacy / Washington Watch).

The statement provides general guidance on the different approaches to apply fair use criteria in the development of best practices for e-reserves. It also addresses how institutions are currently applying fair use to copyrighted materials included in electronic reserves systems. In addition, the statement addresses how U.S. copyright law applies to electronic reserve operations in academic institutions.

"I hope that librarians will find this document useful as they consider how to apply the fair use doctrine to electronic reserves systems," said ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen Davis.

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act was enacted in late 2002. TEACH redefines the terms and conditions on which accredited, nonprofit educational institutions throughout the U.S. may use copyright protected materials in distance education, including on websites and by other digital means, without permission from the copyright owner and without payment of royalties. Because TEACH exemptions do not apply to electronic reserve services, it is essential that librarians apply fair use to determine if permission to use copyright-protected reserve materials is required from the copyright holder.

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association, representing 12,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.