Use by Libraries

Section 108

Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives

Libraries are some of the largest users of copyrighted materials in the U.S. In order to accomplish their mission of providing access to information, libraries rely upon a number of exceptions to U.S. Copyright law. For example, Section 109 allows libraries to loan the items in their collections to patrons. Libraries can also rely upon Section 107, Fair Use, in order to accomplish some of their goals.

Copyright law includes one exception that is specifically designed to allow certain common copying activities by libraries and archives. Section 108 of the Copyright Act specifies a number of situations in which libraries can legally copy items in their collections under certain circumstances.

In order to rely on Section 108, a library or archive needs to meet the following criteria:

  1. The reproduction or distribution is made without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage;
  2. The collections of the library or archives are (i) open to the public, or (ii) available not only to researchers affiliated with the library or archives or with the institution of which it is a part, but also to other persons doing research in a specialized field; and
  3. The reproduction or distribution of the work includes a notice of copyright that appears on the copy or phonorecord that is reproduced under the provisions of this section, or includes a legend stating that the work may be protected by copyright if no such notice can be found on the copy or phonorecord that is reproduced under the provisions of this section.

Section 108 spells out parameters for the following  legal activities:

Limits on materials that can be copied

According to 108(i), there are limits on the types of materials that can be copied under some of the subsections of 108. The rights of reproduction and distribution under 108 do not apply to a musical work, a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work or a motion picture or other audiovisual work other than an audiovisual work dealing with news, except under subsections (b) and (c). These limits also do not apply with respect to pictorial or graphic works published as illustrations, diagrams or similar adjuncts to works of which copies are reproduced or distributed in accordance with subsections (d) and (e).

Resources on Section 108:

There are a number of online resources that can help you further understand Section 108. Besides the links above, you can find more information at the resources below.

DISCLAIMER: The information on these web pages and that received from Copyright Services at The Ohio State University Libraries and the Health Sciences Copyright Coordinator is not legal advice, nor is either office legal counsel to the university or any members of the university community.