Copyright Policy

Boston University respects the rights of authors and publishers under the Copyright Law. In 1991, the University established a policy intended to ensure that faculty members seeking to reproduce copyrighted material for their students did not infringe copyrights. As part of this policy, neither the University Copy Center nor any other Boston University copy service normally accepts copyrighted course materials for reproduction or sale. These functions are the responsibility of the Coursebook Department of Barnes & Noble at Boston University.

The Copyright Clearance Service in the Coursebook Department will, at a faculty member’s request, try to obtain the necessary copyright clearances from publishers. Once permissions are obtained, the bookstore forwards the approved requests to the University Copy Center or other approved University copy service. The bookstore does not charge individual faculty members for the service, but the costs of the service and any costs imposed by publishers for permission to use copyrighted materials are passed along to the purchasers of the course packets.

This system protects faculty members and the University from inadvertent copyright infringement. In order to obtain the necessary permission from publishers in a timely manner, it is important that faculty members submit requests at least three months in advance of when the materials will be needed. The bookstore recommends that requests be submitted by October 1 for materials needed in the Spring semester and by April 1 for materials needed in the Fall semester. The University cannot guarantee that a publisher will grant the requested copyright clearance. The bookstore service provides an efficient way to forward requests, but the decision to grant or to withhold permission is solely in the hands of the many different publishers (and other copyright holders) to whom the requests are sent.

A faculty member who makes use of a copy service to reproduce, without permission, copyrighted materials for use in Boston University courses does so in explicit violation of University policy and will be subject to both legal liabilities and appropriate disciplinary action. The University does not approve of faculty members using outside copy centers to reproduce copyrighted materials for use in Boston University courses regardless of whether these centers offer their own copyright clearance services or accept the assurances of customers that appropriate clearances have been obtained. Faculty members who violate this provision of the University copyright policy will receive no legal assistance from the University in the event of a dispute with a publisher or author.