The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the photocopying or other reproduction of copyrighted materials. Section 107 of the Copyright Law sets four factors as guidelines for determining fair use of material. Declaring fair use is complex and conducting a four-factor fair use analysis is critical to any good faith fair use assertion.
If you plan on putting a large number of items on reserve and you expect each student to read each document, you may want to consider using a course pack instead.
The total amount of material on reserve for a class should be small in proportion to the total assigned reading for that class when invoking fair use.
Association of American Universities. Campus Copyright Rights and Responsibilities: A Basic Guide to Policy Considerations.http://www.aaupnet.org/images/stories/documents/Campus_Copyright.pdf
Stanford University Libraries. “Measuring Fair Use: The Four Factors”, Copyright and Fair Use Overview http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/9-b.html
U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), http://www.copyright.gov/title17/
American Library Association. Copyright Information. http://www.ala.org/tools/atoz/copyright/copyright
University Of Minnesota Libraries. “Working with Fair Use”, Copyright Information and Education, http://www.lib.umn.edu/copyright/fairuse.phtml - Links to a fair use analysis tool and worksheet.
University of Texas System. “Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials”, Copyright Crash Course, http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/IntellectualProperty/copyrighthome.htm
Copyright Clearance Center. Copyright Basics Video - short video on the basics of copyright.