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Copyright on Campus: Course Packs

This guide describes important components of copyright law and their relevance to the academic environment.

Always Ask Permission

Legal opinion sides with publishers in the creation of academic course packs; the copying of materials for educational purposes does not inherently constitute fair use. Permission should be sought to use articles, images, or excerpts in an anthologized collection, and licensing fees will likely be required.


Course packs created without proper clearance from the rights holders place the copying service, the university, and the individual professor at risk for legal action.

Create Your Course Pack

PLNU recommends University Readers for copyright clearance services and the creation of print or digital course packs. In nearly every case, collections of articles, book excerpts, and similar readings require copyright clearance. Copyright Clearance Center also offers clearance services, but lacks publishing services for course packs.  

Start creating your course pack now by visiting the University Readers website. Students can purchase course packs directly from the provider.

PLNU Reprographics will produce course packs or multiple copies for classroom use according to the following guidelines:

  • Copyright protected materials: Proof of copyright clearance, including the total number of copies permitted, for the current academic term must be provided prior to copying.
  • Original materials (unpublished): Materials must be entirely the original work of the course professor (for example, lecture notes or study guides). Unpublished student work may not be reproduced without written permission from the student author/creator.
  • Original materials (published): Proof of clearance from the copyright holder (or proof that the professor retains the copyright) must be provided. Published authors generally do NOT retain copyright for their work.

Published workbooks, study guides, standardized tests, and other resources considered "consumable" may not be copied for any reason.

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