Ensuring course readings are readily available to all students without being too costly is a prime concern for faculty and for LITS. However, there are copyright considerations to keep in mind. In general, fair use arguments can be made when limited amounts of copyrighted material are used for educational purposes, the audience for which is limited to students enrolled in a particular class (by providing access to the materials in a password-protected environment, such as Moodle), and offered in formats that are not susceptible to further copying/downloading. Providing links to online materials (rather than copying them) is also a safe call because no copies are being made. Here are some quick tips for best practices.
Best practice for full-length books:
To mitigate costs for students, also consider:
Note that except in rare circumstances, scanning whole books would not pass a Fair Use test and is a serious copyright violation.
Accessibility Exception: If you have a student in your class who is registered with AccessAbility Services (AAS) and who has an alternative format accommodation, please email AAS. AAS will provide digital content to the registered student. Please note, however, that it would be a violation of copyright to share these files more widely.
Articles from journals or chapters from books will generally be considered a small portion of the whole work and therefore are more likely to meet a Fair Use test, expanding the options for making them available to your students:
If you want a large portion of a book that LITS does not own electronically, please:
Interlibrary Loan: Please note that PDFs received through Interlibrary Loan are meant only for personal study, scholarship, or research needs and may not be further distributed. If you need an article or book chapter for a course reading, please Place a Course Reserve.
There are serious copyright concerns involved with coursepacks since they are specifically prohibited in most interpretations of Fair Use.
Essentially you need to have copyright permission on each piece to compile a coursepack which adds considerably to both the time needed and the expense. Often the royalties/permission fees charged will end up doubling the cost of the coursepack.
Note that if you place the individual readings on reserve (or E-Reserve) there are fewer concerns than if you want to keep the readings together as one large compiled document.
For more on securing permissions for Coursepacks, see Stanford University's page on Academic Coursepacks.