Copyright and licensing

The resources listed below will help ILL practitioners to keep up with the copyright and licensing issues that affect their operation.

Copyright Overview

  • Access Copyright — Canada. Established as a not-for-profit organization in 1988 by a group of authors to protect the value of their intellectual property by ensuring fair compensation when their works are copied.
  • CONTU Guidelines — US. Final report of the National Commission on New Technology Uses of Copyrighted Works.
  • Copyright Advisory Network — American Library Association, US. Information about copyright law for librarians, including feedback from specialists and fellow librarians.
  • Copyright & Fair Use — Stanford University Libraries, US. Addresses the copyright and fair use issues applicable to education and libraries. Includes tools to aid users in evaluating copyright status.
  • Copyright Clearance Center — Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) serves as a global rights broker for sought-after materials and protector of author and user rights.
  • Creative Commons — An organization that allows users to modify their copyright terms according to the user’s conditions.
  • Fair Use Checklist — Columbia University Libraries, US. Offers guidance in deciding if a particular use of copyrighted materials can be considered Fair Use according to Copyright Law.
  • United States Copyright Office — The US Copyright Office allows users to register their works online through their website. The website also has application forms for copyright registration, links to other copyright organizations, links to their own copyright records, the latest regulations, etc.
  • When Works Pass Into the Public Domain — Lolly Gassaway, University of North Carolina, US. Website shows breakdown of when works are no longer protected and get put into the public domain according to when copyright laws were created.
    • Library Public Domain — Section 108(h) of the US copyright law allows libraries to digitize and provide public access to material in the last 20 years of their copyright term, such as books published between 1923 and 1941 that are not actively being sold. For more information, see this article on the Internet Archive blog, this one on, and this paper on SSRN.


Model Licenses

  • CDL License Agreement Checklist — California Digital Library, US. CDL uses emerging technology to create new ways to access digital information and distribute it to the community at large.
  • LibLicense: A Resource for Librarians — Center for Research Libraries, US. LibLicense discusses licensing and other related issues. They also provide valuable resources about scholarly licensing for libraries.
  • NERL Model License — NorthEast Research Libraries provides this model license as a foundation for negotiating use of licenced content.


Additional Resources

  • Library Copyright Alliance — US. LCA sees to amend international/national copyright law for digital resources while still allowing global access.
  • Section 108 Study Group — Library of Congress, US. Copyright experts who update copyright law for digital resources. They aim to balance the rights between creators and copyright owners.
  • World Intellectual Property Organization — WIPO works on the development of international standards in copyright law. WIPO’s website also outlines the right of stakeholders and their relations with the public.