Answered By: Kendra Harrell
Last Updated: Apr 29, 2020     Views: 46

Short answer: because it's stealing.

  • Copyright law has some wiggle room for educational use, but not that much wiggle room.
  • Copying a whole book is a straightforward example of breaking the law, and does not fall under “fair use.”
  • Workbooks especially, as opposed to textbooks, are designed and sold to be used instead of copied for use.
  • Simply buying a copy of a book does not give you the right to copy it.
It's illegal to copy more than a small portion of a published work unless you have permission from the publisher, or it falls under fair use.


Fair Use doesn't give you a permission slip to copy whole books for "educational use."

Stanford has a great reference tool about fair use. The gist of it is, the only way to prove that something is "fair use" is to take it to court. If you aren't ready for that, avoid copying things that aren't yours.

Details on prohibitions of copyright law:

  1. Copying shall not be used to create, replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works. Such replacement or substitution may occur whether copies of various works or excerpts there from are accumulated or are reproduced and used separately.
  2. There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be "consumable" in the course of study or teaching – such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, test booklets and answer sheets.
  3. Copying shall not:
  1. substitute for the purchase of books, publisher's reprints or periodicals;
  2. be directed by higher authority,
  3. be repeated with respect to the same item by the same teacher from term to term.

If you have questions about your particular situation, make an appointment with a librarian to discuss it.