Photocopying ILL book (in public domain) to add to Library collection

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  • Is it permissible to photocopy major portions of a book--especially such as a thesis or dissertation--that is obtained by ILL, in order to add it to the library's collection--under the condition that it is out of copyright, i.e. in the public domain and is not reasonably available for purchase? It seems that the library in question has dozens of partially reproduced books (how they were obtained I don't know) and is looking to complete these books by photocopying the missing chapters.

    Even if this is permissable in terms of copyright, would it be considered a violation of ILL rules for OCLC member libraries?
  • If it's in the public domain, there should be no problem at all -- that's what the public domain is for. Violation of ILL rules? Probably not, since the copyright ownership is what you really have to be concerned about here.

    As far as photocopying missing chapters, we covered that for purchased books when we discussed "tipping in" a while back in the forum. That's standard library practice even for books under copyright, and one generally has to obtain the original through ILL to make the photocopies. If you are completing photocopies of books out of copyright, again, that's what the public domain is for.
  • I agree with Janet about the copyright issues. As someone who has worked in ILL for a while, I know that some libraries can be a bit tetchy about this kind of practice. We've gotten some items through ILL that were in far too poor condition to photocopy without special equipment. Copying an entire book can be hard on it. I would be straightforward with the lending library about what you need, and in your request, either offer to either pay for them to copy it or to copy it yourself.

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