Document Delivery Services Copyright Restrictions

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  • I have a question concerning Document Delivery Copyright restrictions.
    As a DDS Department in an Academic Library, we provide articles, chapters of books and other materials through DDS. All is provided to our patrons free of charge as the Library covers all costs. We normally make our requests from US, UK, Canadian universities and some institutions.

    I know that by applying the US copyright law, we cannot request two articles from the same periodical issue for one patron, without paying copyright fees to the publisher of the journal.

    Where does our responsibility stand in this particular case? When the same patron requests 2 articles from the same journal issue:
    Should we process them (since we pay all fees to our supplier?)
    Should we cancel one request and process only one?
    In any case, we do not make our patrons pay anything.
    What do you suggest I should do?
  • I'm not sure that I understand your situation. I think you are saying that the supplier may not be paying the copyright fee, and I think you are asking if you have any responsibility for the supplier's behavior. If I've got that wrong, please let me know.

    The 2 article rule is a guideline. It's not part of the law. If I recall correctly, even if you accept the guidelines, they only apply to journal articles in the last 5 years. My memory might be hazy on that point.

    Personally, I don't use the guidelines. One of the questions I ask myself is whether or not the ILL is replacing the sale of a journal issue or subscription. For single issues, I look at the 2 articles in the context of the whole issue. If the 2 articles are a big % or part of a themed issue, I'd be more likely to pay.

    Unless you have strong evidence that the copyright holder was not being properly compensated, I suggest that you do nothing. Personally, I have no idea how the supplier gets the articles, and I don't know what sort of arrangements that the supplier may have made with the copyright holder. If you really feel that the supplier is not properly compensating the copyright holder, I suggest that you talk to the supplier. If you can't resolve your concern, I suggest that you get another supplier and report the supplier.

    Because the patron is not responsible, I think you should process both requests in any case.

    I hope that helps.
  • I agree with AFry -- it's a guideline, not the law. And the guideline is six or more copies of one or more articles from the past five years of one journal title in a single calendar year -- when you reach six, the guidline suggests that this is a substitute for a subscription and you should pay permission fees. In any case, you are nowhere near that. You may be thinking of a standard guideline I've seen a lot for electronic reserves, suggesting that you put up no more than two articles from the same issue of a journal. Again, a guideline, not the law. It's always a good idea to resist paying permissions when your use is fair, even if it is "easy" to pay.

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