It is the policy of Lee Health to comply with federal copyright laws, state laws and regulations, licenses, and contractual obligations that control the system's use of copyrighted materials and intellectual property belonging to others. The Lee Health Medical Libraries will comply with the Copyright Law (Title XVII U.S. Code, Chapter 1), including Section 108, Reproduction by Libraries, and Section 107, "Fair Use" (see below).

All document delivery requests and photocopying services are subject to copyright compliance. Library staff may refuse any request that violates the copyright law or Lee Health copyright policy. Patrons wishing to reproduce a protected work that does not meet the Library Reproduction or Fair Use criteria must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Copyright Statement on Fair Use

A copyright is a legal protection that gives the owner of a work the exclusive right to reproduce it, distribute copies, prepare derivative works, and perform or display it publicly. Copyrighted works include any original works such as printed articles from publications, magazines, books, television and radio programs, videos, DVDs, music, Internet sites, and photographs. Copyright protection begins automatically when the work is created in some fixed form and does not require any formal legal filing or copyright notice.

The "fair use" of a copyrighted work, including its reproduction, may be permitted on a case-by-case basis. the following factors are considered in determining fair use:

  • The purpose and character of the used, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit education purposes*.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work.
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

*** Using copyrighted materials for educational purposes does not in itself afford protection under the fair use doctrine.

To determine if you need permission to copy the materials you need, use the Exceptions for Instructors in U.S. Copyright Law evaluation e-tool from the American Library Association (ALA). The other tools from the ALA are complimentary and should be explored.

10 Big Myths about Copyright Explained  

"Copyright and Open Access at the Bedside"  , by John C. Newman and Robin Fieldman, The New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 29, 2011, vol. 365, pp. 2447-2449. (free full-text)


Sample Letter Requesting Permission to Copy


  • Before copying a protected work for purposes that do not meet the "fair use" exception, patrons must request permission from the owner of the work.
  • The request should include the name of the person making the request; the intended purpose of the copied material; and the number of copies and intended distribution audience.
  • The request can be made by phone, e-mail or by modifying the sample letter below requesting permission to copy.
  • Document the name and position of the person providing or denying permission and provide it with your request to the Library staff.

Sample Letter

[Letterhead stationary or return address]


[Recipient's Name & Address and Fax Number]

Dear [title, name]:

[If you called first, begin your letter: This letter will confirm our recent telephone conversation.] I would like your permission to [explain your intended use in detail, e.g., "reprint X copies of the following article for a session in a continuing professional education program."]

[Insert full citation to the original work.]

Please indicate your approval of this permission by signing the letter where indicated below and returning it to me as soon as possible. My fax number is set forth above.

Your signing of this letter will also confirm that you own [or your company owns] the copyright to the above-described material.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.




[Your name a signature]





[Typed name of recipient] Date