Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act allows eligible libraries and archives to reproduce and distribute certain materials for specific purposes, under conditions spelled out in relatively rigorous detail.
What libraries may use Section 108?
A library is eligible for the benefits of Section 108 if its collections are open to the public, or are available to researchers who are not affiliated with the institution, but who are doing research in a specific field. Most public and academic libraries and archives will qualify.
Which activities are permitted by Section 108?
The statute principally applies to copies for preservation and for research, but the scope of Section 108 is outlined more fully below. Section 108 also offers protection for libraries that post warning notices on copying machines, and, for more information, see a guide to that provision.
Can the library make multiple copies of works under Section 108?
The statute generally permits only single copies of works in isolated and unrelated occasions. The preservation and replacement provisions permit up to three copies on a single occasion.
What if my activities are not within Section 108?
Section 108 Resources
- Full Text of Section 108 (17 U.S.C. § 108)
- Analysis of Section 108 by Kenneth Crews (prepared in 2001)
- Nifty Section 108 "Spinner" Tool from the American Library Association
- The Section 108 Study Group convened for three years, and in its 2008 report proposed a variety of changes to the statute. Congress has not taken action on these proposals, but watch for any new developments.
Libraries and Fair Use Resources
- Fair Use and User Rights section of this website
- Reserve Copies and Electronic Reserves
- Digital Libraries section of this website (coming soon)
Most recent revision: 073009
When making use of this page under the terms of the CC license, please include this form of attribution: "Used under a Creative Commons BY license from the Copyright Advisory Office of Columbia University, Kenneth D. Crews, director." If your needs for the material are outside the scope of the license, please consider fair use or simply asking us for permission.