Interlibrary loan copyright restrictions and guidelines

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Multnomah County Library’s interlibrary loan department follows copyright law.

We adhere to the fair use doctrine, as determined by U.S. copyright law, Title 17, Copyrights, United States Code section 107, which allows for the reproduction of copyrighted material for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research. The categories used in determining fair use are:

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

In addition, in order to conform to copyright exemptions for interlibrary loan, per section 108(d) of U.S. copyright law, we will

  • Request only one article from a single issue of a periodical or one chapter from a book per library user.
  • Add copyright warnings to all print and electronic copies.

Additionally, the Interlibrary loan department follows the standards put forth by the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU). This commission has developed a set of guidelines to assist libraries in fulfilling their duties while adhering to copyright law. These guidelines pertain only to interlibrary loan use and were not created with general library use in mind.

  • CONTU guidelines permits the copying during a calendar year of no more than five articles from a single journal title, not owned by the library, dated within the past five calendar years.
    • To make sure that we adhere to this guideline, we use the Copyright Clearance Center to track borrowing requests.
    • To ensure equitable access, we limit patrons to three requests out of the five allowed.
  • In compliance with CONTU, we retain records of what has been borrowed for three years
    • Patron information is removed from the records after six months.
  • Per CONTU, we do not archive print or electronic articles. The patron retains ownership of the copy, not the library.