Archives for the Month of February 2010 on Carl's ILLiad Blog

Copyright Issues & ILL

One very important issue to always keep in mind when doing scholarly research, particularly as it relates to interlibrary loan, is that of copyright. You must always be careful regarding the types and volume of materials that you choose to request through ILL, as they impact upon copyright laws and restrictions. These rules are imposed primarily to protect the rights of the authors and publishers who produce these materials, and more recently we as users are expected by the relevant authorities to adhere to them more strictly now than in the past.

Where articles from copyright-protected journals or serials are involved, libraries generally follow the so-called 'Rule of 5'. This implies a limit of 5 articles within same journal title, published within the most recent 5 years, that may be requested within a single calendar year without penalty. Once this number is exceeded, the library must begin paying copyright fees per each individual additional article, usually through the Copyright Clearance Center. Often these amounts may be quite exorbitant, based on the particular publication. (Of course, articles older than 5 years are not so accounted according to this method.) We can, at our discretion, refuse to accept interlibrary loan requests for articles that are excessive in number and require us to pay unduly large fee totals, and will usually recommend a more practical alternative. This would hold true in the case of a request for the reproduction of an entire recent journal issue, as well. This is a relatively rare situation, however, and we prefer to avoid cancellations for this reason.

As far as books and other monographs are concerned, many of us are familiar with the following warning that usually appears on the imprint page: 'All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced ... without the prior written permission of the publisher.' Of course researchers will frequently be in need of copies of book chapters or conference papers for scholarly use, almost as much as for journal articles. The general rule we often encounter specifies that a maximum of 15% of a book's total page length may be legally reproduced for scholarly research purposes, whether or not this involves the imposition of copyright fees and possibly even regardless of the age of the book. Complete reproductions of theses and dissertations are usually not difficult to obtain (when the items cannot otherwise be borrowed), but occasionally may require the author's written permission to authorize such a reproduction by the holding library or archive.

The rules pertaining to music scores can become very complicated, and it is best not to expect reproductions of them to supplied without considerable efforts and formalities. Audio-visual materials, such as sound recordings and videos, for the most part cannot be legally reproduced without special permission from the rightsholder. Although we accept requests for such materials that are not available to you through other sources, we discourage any implication that we obtain reproductions of these items rather than loans, and can refuse such requests at our discretion.

Whenever we have been able to supply you with a copy of an article, book chapter, conference paper, patent, thesis, etc., we recommend that it is not advisable for you to freely reproduce the electronic files. Many suppliers will specifically stipulate that only one copy may be distributed to our user, and that only a single copy may be retained in electronic storage or printed to a hardcopy format. We greatly appreciate your respect for and adherence to this restriction, and the statement of such by the provider will usually appear clearly on a page at the beginning or end of the scanned file to make you aware when this applies.

If you want to avoid copyright issues altogether (almost), we always recommend that you submit a request for the loan of an entire piece, as an alternative. In the case of books and conference proceedings, it is usually quite easy to obtain a loan of the entire item that contains the portion you may require. It is usually more difficult to borrow a complete issue or volume of a journal or newspaper, whether in hard copy or on microfilm, though not entirely impossible. Such loans will usually have a brief loan period, and may also bear 'NO RENEWAL' and 'LIBRARY USE ONLY' restrictions as well. If this is the route you prefer to take, submit your request using one of our 'loan-type' forms, i.e., 'Book', 'Report', 'Thesis' or 'Other', rather that any of the remaining 'article-type' forms. As always, we strongly urge that you check for availability of a loanable item in OhioLINK first, before you choose to use ILLiad. Remember that as far as to what extent you make personal reproductions of sections of loaned items, it will be incumbent upon you to bear the responsibility of how doing so impacts copyright.

Another effective alternative would be to request the acquisition of an item for addition to KSL collections, using the Suggest a Purchase form. You may suggest that our library obtain a book, conference proceedings, or even a single issue of a particular journal, which contains those sections you need for your research, and once it has been catalogued it will be available for your immediate use and for additional future use as well.

Keeping the implications of copyright in mind when doing your scholarly research can help you avoid serious legal problems which can arise in future academic situations. If you wish to read more detailed information about copyright issues, please see our library's site at the following link: Copyright@Case.

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