Copyright and Interlibrary Loan

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Copyright Guidelines for Interlibrary Loan (ILL):

AUS Library ILL service adheres to guidelines developed by the Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU):

  • The CONTU guidelines only apply to publications that are less than five years old.
  • Libraries may provide one article, per issue, per patron without requesting copyright permission; you must request copyright permission and pay any applicable royalty fees for the second and subsequent copies.
  • The borrowing library may receive copies of up to five articles from a single periodical title (as opposed to a single issue) per calendar year. Starting with the sixth copy, copyright permission and royalty fees may be required.
  • No more than five copies of articles, chapters or other small portions of a non-periodical work may be received by a library in a given calendar year, during the entire period of copyright of the book. Starting with the sixth copy, copyright permission and royalty fees may be required.

Source: Interlibrary Loan: Copyright Guidelines and Best Practices

ILL and U.S. Copyright Law

Copyrighted materials made available via Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services are for the use of AUS faculty, students and staff to support the research and educational functions of the university. The use of copyrighted materials in all formats requested via ILL must be in compliance with U.S. copyright law and the policy outlined herein. AUS Library System also provides Interlibrary Lending services to other libraries. These lending services must likewise be in compliance with U.S. copyright law and the policy outlined herein.

The copyright activities of ILL are governed primarily by Section 108 of the U.S. copyright law (Limitations on exclusive rights: reproduction by libraries and archives). Building on this, the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works, CONTU, developed guidelines “to assist librarians and copyright proprietors in understanding the amount of photocopying for use in interlibrary loan arrangements permitted under the copyright law” especially regarding issues of “systematic reproduction”. The CONTU guidelines are not law and have never been reviewed or revised despite the many changes in technology; however, they still serve as suggestions that help librarians interpret the ILL provision in the Copyright Act. They also help reassure copyright holders that ILL will not replace periodical subscriptions and book purchases by libraries. Under the CONTU guidelines for delivering photocopies through ILL, the borrowing library tracks patron requests and, once the guidelines are exceeded, the borrowing library reports the usage and pays the required royalty fees.

In some cases, the provisions of Section 107 (Fair Use) may also be applied to ILL activities. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of fair use, that user will be liable for copyright infringement. AUS Library System reserves the right to refuse a request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.