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Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery: Copyright for ILL

Copyright for ILL

Interlibrary loan requests must be in compliance with the CONTU guidelines developed from  Section 108 of the Copyright Act. Some key provisions are:

  • Items requested through interlibrary loan are for personal study, scholarship or research.
  • CONTU guidelines for copying from periodicals apply to materials less than five years old.
  • in any given  calendar year, interlibrary loan departments are permitted to request up to five articles published in the past five years from a single periodical (referred to as the "suggestion of five"). After five requests from that title have been requested and received, any subsequent requests for articles from that title will require payment of copyright royalties.  These can be very expensive, so when we have exceeded our fair use threshold we may contact requestors to ask how critical the article is to their research.
  • Libraries may provide only one article per issue  without paying copyright. 
  • Libraries may copy only small sections of any copyrighted work, and copied material may not comprise a substantial portion of the original.  Photocopying an entire book is not permissible, but copying one chapter (depending on its length) is considered to be acceptable.
  • See the knowledge guide on copyright for more information on copyright essentials.


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