Prince William (VA) Public Library System
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© Copright Information


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

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 may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

This notice is posted in compliance with Title 37 C. F. R. Chapter II. Part 201.14


Copyright Law and Library Photocopying

The full text of the copyright law can be found in the United States Code in the section entitled Title 17 - Copyrights. Copyright owners are assigned exclusive rights to their works, including the right to reproduce those works. The law defines several limits on exclusive rights that allow others to make copies of copyrighted works. Those engaged in teaching and research are granted certain reproduction rights in 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use.

Libraries are authorized to photocopy materials from their own collections for their clientele under the provisions of 108. Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives. Under the provisions of section 108(d), libraries may photocopy a single article from a periodical or a chapter of a book and give the copy to a PWPLS patron.

When obtaining photocopies of copyrighted works from other libraries through interlibrary loan, libraries must comply with the conditions defined in subsection g(2) of 108. Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives. The basic requirement is that libraries must not receive copies in "such aggregate quantities as to substitute for a subscription to or purchase of such work." Just how much copying would violate this provision is not defined in the law.


Journal Photocopies through Interlibrary Loan

The copyright law does not provide a quantitative definition of how many photocopies from a journal can be received by a library for interlibrary loan purposes. The National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works in 1978 issued guidelines to help libraries comply with the copyright law. Prince William Public Library System ILL Office complies with the CONTU 
Guidelines on Photocopying Under Interlibrary Loan Arrangements
when obtaining your requested photocopy from another library.

For a given periodical title, within a given calendar year, we are allowed under the guidelines to obtain an institutional total of five (5) photocopies of articles published within the five years preceding the date of your request. For the sixth article and above we have several alternatives for filling your request. We can either
    1. pay a royalty to the owner of the copyright for each photocopy obtained (the quickest method when it is possible)
    2. find some means of purchasing an original copy of the work (usually impossible or involving long delays)
    3. attempt to borrow the entire work (usually impossible)
    4. decline to fill your request for a copy of the article (sometimes necessary).