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Home > Using Copyright > Obtaining Rights > Library Copying

Library Copying

Libraries may make copies if:

  • Not for commercial advantage
  • Library is open to the public
  • Copies include a copyright notice
  • Copy becomes the property of requestor

Copyright law allows patrons of libraries and archives to obtain a copy of a work in a library or archive collection for the limited purposes of private study, scholarship or research. The library may copy a work without infringing the rights of copyright owners if certain conditions are met: the library must not profit from the copying, the library must be open to the public, and the work copied must contain a notice of copyright.

The limited exemption does not apply if additional copies of the same work are made and provided to the same patron or if the copying is part of a "related or concerted" effort to provide multiple copies to the public.

Library Content Licenses
Libraries also must remember that some of the contracts into which they have entered may have specifically overridden this exemption.

Also, it is important to remember that, unless separate permission is obtained for distribution, materials lawfully obtained from libraries for private study should not be commercialized or distributed on the internet. Even if the distribution is for a non-commercial purpose, the library exemption does not include such distribution.

For more information if this exception applies to your use, you may want to review the library copying provisions in copyright law.


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