Photocopying Copyright Issues

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Most Common Intellectual Property Law Issues:

When is Photocopying Permissible?

Photocopying is permissible when done for classroom use under certain conditions. The exact scope of permissibility is not defined in law. However, the law does expressly permit libraries to make copies of certain works. It also implicitly recognizes the rights of others to make photocopies in libraries that have photocopying machines and protects libraries from any copyright liability if certain notices are posted.

The "Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-For-Profit Educational Institutions"allows limited copying of portions of works when used for scholarly purposes. The Guidelines specify that this copying must be characterized by shortness and spontaneity; implying that extensive copying of entire works is not favored and that multiple copies are to be made only if another alternative is not possible due to time limitations.

What are the Specifics for Library Photocopying?

Libraries and archives are allowed to make one copy of a work as long as it is not done for commercial purposes. This privilege is generally restricted to replacing damaged works or obtaining out-of-print works.

Should I Seek the Advice of an Attorney?

If you have questions regarding laws on photocopying it is advisable to speak to an attorney well versed in intellectual property law.

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Last Modified: 12-21-2011 04:44 PM PST

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