Whether you are an author, a professor, or a student, many occasions will arise when you want to use the copyrighted works of others. This page discusses the main issues to consider when using copyrighted material, including how to determine whether a work is copyrighted, understanding fair use, and deciding whether you will need to ask permission for a particular use.

Understanding Copyright is Tremendously Important!

Koç University’s faculty, students, and staff produce, distribute and share a wide range of works. University members may want to use their own works, or others’ works, while pursuing goals for research, teaching, instruction, or scholarship. 

For faculty and instructors, and anyone who instructs online, understanding and adhering to copyright law is crucial to protect yourselves, the University, and your students. As educators, modeling appropriate and legal use of copyrighted materials is critical in helping students (and future educators) to better understand the complex issues surrounding copyright. Suna Kıraç Library offers guidance to faculty and instructors on how and when copyrighted materials can be used for instruction.

Legal disclaimer: All the information contained here is educational. None of this guide’s information is, or should be considered to be, legal advice.

Who owns the copyright?

Ordinarily, the creator does.  However, if he or she creates the work in the course of employment or is retained under an appropriate contract to make the work, then the work is a “work made for hire,” and the employer or the contracting party owns the copyright.  Co-creators jointly own the copyright in the work they create together.

In some situations, when a work is created by a member of the University, Koç University policies vary the ownership that would otherwise result under copyright law.

According to Koç University Intellectual Property Policy (Title 2.2.1) faculty, staff, and students often own the copyright in the results of the academic research, scholarship, and artistic expression they create even in the course of their employment.


2.2.1 General Rule: In keeping with academic tradition, the University generally does not claim for itself copyrights in those books, articles, theses, papers, novels, poems, musical compositions, and similar works which are intended to disseminate the results of the academic research, scholarship, and artistic expression of its faculty, staff, and students. 1

Koç University Policies on Intellectual Property Rights And Technology Transfer can be found at https://tto.ku.edu.tr/en/procedures

Turkish Law on Intellectual and Artistic Property Rights (Law No:5846)

The protection of the copyrights is regulated under the Law of Literary and Artistic Works No. 5846 (Law No. 5846).

According to Law No. 5846, an intellectual or artistic creation is qualified as a ‘work’ subject to copyright protection if:

it is original, namely if it is the result of independent, creative effort by the author and it falls under one of the four categories mentioned below, namely:

  • Scientific and literary works
  • Musical works
  • Artistic works, or
  • Cinematographic works.

It should be noted that Law No. 5846 recognizes moral rights and economic rights separately. The term “copyrights” usually refers to economic rights related to a work. In addition to copyright, the economic rights are the right of adaptation, the right of distribution, the right of performance and the right to publicly communicate the work by the devices enabling the transmission of signs, sounds and/or images.

In the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Property Rights (Law No. 5846) the subject of creating works for education and training is regulated in article 34 under the title of “Selected and Collected Works for Education and Training” as follows. According to the law;

  1. Selected and Collected Works for Training and Education
  2. (Amended: 7.6.1995-4110/article 13) Creating selected and collected works from the published works of music, science and literature and publicized works of fine art, which are understandably aimed at training and education from their states and situations, by way of borrowing to the extent justified for the purpose is allowed. The works stated in the third indent of article 2 and the first and fifth indents of the first paragraph of article 4 may only be borrowed in order to describe the contents of the selected and collected works. However, this freedom may not be exercised in a way as to give harm to the legal interests of the owner of the right without any justification or in contradiction to the normal use of the work. 3

The provisions of the first paragraph also apply for the broadcasts (school-radio) exclusively prepared for the schools and approved by the Ministry of National Education.

In all these cases, it is obligatory to regularly mention the name of the work and the owner of the work.

Fair Use of Copyrighted Material

What is “fair use”?

Fair use is the right to use a copyrighted work under certain conditions without permission of the copyright owner.  The doctrine helps prevent a rigid application of copyright law that would stifle the very creativity the law is designed to foster.

It allows one to use and build upon prior works in a manner that does not unfairly deprive prior copyright owners of the right to control and benefit from their works. 2

Turkish Copyright Law

A provision for Fair Use is found in the Law, article 34 under the title of “Selected and Collected Works for Education and Training”

Under the fair use provision, a reproduction of someone else’s copyright-protected work is likely to be considered fair if it is used for teaching, scholarship and research. If the reproduction is for one of these purposes, a determination as to whether the reproduction is fair use must be made based upon a factor “the amount and substantiality of the portion used”.

Fair use is an obscure concept and the law does not state exactly what uses of a copyrighted work will be considered fair uses under the law and also there is no adjustment which can be applied.

US Copyright Act

The Copyright Act provides that the “fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” Not all educational uses are fair use. Four factors are considered in determining whether the use of a work is a fair use:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; Certain types of uses typically favor fair use, including teaching, research, scholarship, criticism, news reporting and parody. Also favoring fair use are uses that transform the copyrighted work for a new purpose, rather than pure copying.
  • the nature of the copyrighted work; Creative and fiction-based copyrighted works are given greater protection than works of a factual or non-fiction nature. Similarly, non-published works are given greater protection than published works.
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and The smaller the portion of a work used, the more likely the use is a fair use. Conversely, use of a substantial portion of a work or the heart of a work is less likely to be considered fair use.
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work; Use of a work that replaces the need for others to purchase or license the work, especially if the work is easily purchased or licensed, will weigh against fair use. Making just a few copies, available to only a limited number of people, is likely to weigh in favor of fair use.

Fair Use is decided on a case-by-case basis and is a very grey area.

As a result, an assessment about Fair Use can be made about the applications in Türkiye, EU and the United States. To minimize the risk of copyright infringement Library interprets the following situations as fair use:

  • Instructor’s course notes, sample tests, instructor’s exercises/problem sets or other materials instructors have prepared (as a copyright holder)
  • Student papers (with the permission of the student as an author)
  • Government publications
  • one chapter from a book
  • one article from a journal issue
  • a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper

If your request does not meet the above criteria and the work is protected by copyright, you probably need to obtain permission to use the work from the copyright holder. Please refer to Request Permissions (When Fair Use is not applicable) in this guide to understand how to obtain permissions.




Copying & Printing Copyrighted Materials

Copying includes printing, photocopying and similar methods of mechanical duplication.  It is not permissible to reproduce copyrighted materials without the written authorization of the copyright holder unless it qualifies under the copyright law’s doctrine of “fair use.”

If there is any doubt about any material qualifying for “fair use”, it should not be copied without permission from the copyright holder or without the approval of legal counsel. Assume that all material is copyrighted unless its source states clearly that is not.

Printing and Copying Services will adhere to all guidelines governing copyrighted materials of any format whether, electronic, printed or in art form. According to the Turkish Copyright Law No. 5846 (FSEK) on Intellectual and Artistic Works and US Copyright Law (PL 94-5 53) Section 107 stipulates the criteria for educational institutions.

In line with the fair use of intellectual and artistic Works;

– Photocopying is limited up to one chapter or 10 % of the whole book

– One article can be re produced out of a periodical.

Under the “Fair Use Law”, all departments are responsible for securing written verification of copyright clearance.




What are the copyright issues related to the items on the Suna Kıraç Library, Digital Collections?

The materials in Suna Kıraç Library Digital Collections are intended to be used for research, teaching, and private study. All items are covered by the Intellectual and Artistic Property Rights Law No. 5846 (FSEK) legislation (originally passed in 1951, amended in 1983 and 1995, and last changed on March 3, 2001 to consider changed forms of production due to new technologies. (Title: 5846). This law covers publications of both scientific and literary nature (including computer software), music, fine arts productions and movies and gives all rights both immaterial and financial to the right holders of these productions. Please see the Intellectual and Artistic Property Rights Law No. 5846 for further information about FESK3

According to FSEK, “Any published production is freely used as long as they are represented for a non-profit purpose directly or indirectly in all education and training institutions for face to face education by giving clear explanation of the right holder and the title of the productions.” The documents, in their availability here, and their further use by SKL patrons, are thus governed by this aspect of the FSEK legislation.

Usage of some items may also be subject to additional restrictions imposed by the copyright owner and/or the university. Please contact digitalresources@ku.edu.tr for specific details.




Appropriate uses of databases, ejournals, and other electronic content provided by the Koç University Library.

Most electronic resources provided by Koç University are governed by license agreements that restrict use to currently enrolled Koç University students, faculty, and staff, and to walk-in users physically present in the Library. The use of each online resource is governed by applicable copyright laws as well as the terms of the license between Koç University and the publisher.

  • Commercial use. Electronic resources licensed to the University are restricted to academic usage.  Separate licenses, payments, and permissions are required for commercial use.
  • Downloading an excessive portion of a resource (e.g. an entire collection or database).
  • Electronically transmitting online content to non-KU affiliates.
  • Posting articles to Blackboard or a public website. Post a link instead. For information on adding full-text resources to your Blackboard page, please consult the Library Course Reserve Service page
  • Use of robots or spiders or other programs for automatic or systematic downloading of content
  • Sharing IDs and Passwords. KU users should not share their user KU Net IDs and passwords, nor should they enable anyone who is not an authorized user to gain access to materials licensed to Koç University.

Publishers and vendors carefully monitor web activity. Breaches of the license terms may result in loss of privileges for the individual and loss of electronic resource access for the entire University.

Specific terms and conditions for each electronic resource are generally available from a link on the publisher’s site. If you have any questions about your intended use of the resource, please consult these terms or ask library staff for assistance.



Many educational uses will be fair, however, nonprofit educational use alone does not automatically give you permission to copy and distribute other people’s work. You will probably need to evaluate your use each time you are reproducing copyrighted material to show in your class, to hand out copies, to include in your writing, or to post on Blackboard.

Reserve Services Policy

The aim of the Library’s Reserve Services is to enhance the educational process by enabling faculty to place library and personally owned materials on restricted loan to students for limited periods of time.

The Library Reserve system will provide access to course materials (sample exams, syllabi, problem sets, reading packages, lecture notes, textbook, etc.) written or selected by faculty as required instructional materials. This guarantees that the material is available in the Library for students to use, as and when the assignments are given to the class.

E-reserves which allow us to place scanned copies of copyrighted materials on reserve. We are also able to provide links from the secure environment of Sierra (library management system) to materials selected from our site licensed databases. E-reserve services enable students to access their course materials 24×7 on/off-campus. The Library encourages you to avail this service. Freely available articles through the Internet can also be put on e-reserve collection without obtaining copyright clearance and can be accessible outside of the University.

Materials that can be placed on electronic reserve collection without obtaining copyright permission include the following:

  • Instructor’s course notes, sample tests, instructor’s exercises/problem sets or other materials instructors have prepared (as a copyright holder)
  • Student papers (with the permission of the student as an author)
  • Government publications
  • one chapter from a book
  • one article from a journal issue
  • a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper

Materials for which need the copyright clearance before placing on e-reserve collection:

  • An entire book whether in-print or out of print
  • Required textbooks
  • An entire course packs
  • More than one chapter from the same book
  • More than one article from the same journal issue of a periodical

When the material needs copyright clearance, please inform the responsible librarian libreserve@ku.edu.tr to contact the publisher.

Requesting Permissions (When Fair Use doesn't apply)

If you have determined that a work is still under copyright and your proposed use is not fair use, then you need to obtain written permission to use the work.

Finding the Copyright Owner

In the past times, copyright owners were prominently noted in the copyright notice that used to be required. For works with a copyright notice, your task is easier (at least you have a starting point). But for many works, figuring out whom to ask can be a major undertaking. Sometimes it is impossible. Nevertheless, if you keep in mind the structure we’ve set out below, it can provide you with a systematic way to approach the task:

  1. Identify the author(s) and contact one or more of them
  2. Ask whether they own the copyright or whether the work was work for hire
  3. Ask whether they have conveyed away any of their rights, and if so, to whom

The Copyright Clearance Center provides a service for requesting permission to use copyrighted materials, and covers nearly two million copyrighted works, primarily text-based works (books and journals). In many cases permission can be applied for and granted instantly online with the payment of the required permission fee.

Writing for Permission

You can use the Sample Permission Request Letter as a basis for requesting permission from the copyright holder. There is no required form for requesting permission. If you chose not to use the sample permission request, your permission request should at least include the title of the work, the name of author, artist, or editor, a precise description of what you want to use, and a description of how you intend to use it (e.g., copy, perform, display, make a derivate work, etc.). The more precise you can be in your permission request, the more likely it is that your request will be approved. Make sure to allow sufficient time for your permission request to be processed. In many cases 4-6 weeks may be required. 4

Copyright Statements:

As an educational institution, Koç University Library’s reserve activities fall within the fair use provision:

Turkish Copyright Statements

Turkish copyright is protected by Intellectual and Artistic Property Rights Law No. 5846 (FSEK) that was accepted in 1951. This law includes subject of scientific and literature publications (including computer software), music, fine arts productions, movies and gives the rights to right holders of these productions in these subjects as spiritual and financial. This law has been amended in 1983 and 1995. Last change of it has been done in 3rd March 2001. Those changes were on developed and changed forms of productions with information technologies.

The articles that refer to copying and using process are under article 34. It says “Any published production is freely used as long as they are represented by non-profit purpose directly or indirectly in all education and training institutions for face to face education by giving clear explanation of right holder and title of productions” 3

US Copyright Act

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include;

Fair use – Title 17 Chapter 1 Section 107

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational use of students.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work.
  • The amount and substantially 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.

Fair use – Title 17 Chapter 1 Section 108

Except as otherwise provided in this title and notwithstanding the provisions of section.

Further information

Please contact the Library Open Access Team at openaccess@ku.edu.tr if you would like more information about copyright and fair use.

  1. Koç Üniversitesi Fikri Mülkiyet Hakları ve Teknoloji Transferi Politikası, 8 Ağustos 2019 tarihinde https://tto.ku.edu.tr/en/procedures adresinden alınmıştır.
  2. Copyright and Fair Use: A Guide for the Harvard Community. 5 Ağustos 2019 tarihinde adresinden alınmıştır.https://ogc.harvard.edu/files/ogc/files/ogc_copyright_and_fair_use_guide_5-31-16.pdf
  3. Turkish Intellectual and Artistic Property Rights Law No. 5846. 5 Ağustos 2019 tarihinde http://www.mevzuat.gov.tr/MevzuatMetin/1.3.5846.doc adresinden alınmıştır.
  4. Sample Letter Requesting Permission to Reproduce Copyrighted Material. 5 Ağustos 2019 tarihinde https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/copyrightinfo/permissions.html adresinden alınmıştır.
  5. S Copyright Office: Fair Use. 5 Ağustos 2019 tarihinde http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html adresinden alınmıştır.