Digitizing a monograph for personal research purposes

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  • 1. I work in an educational institution and I want to scan and OCR a recently published US print monograph that I personally own in order to more easily search it for material relevant to my specific research interests. I do not intend to share this digital copy with anyone else and once I have searched it (which shouldn't take ovr a week or so) I will destroy the electronic version. Is this allowable under current copyright law? As I understand copyright law, it is not legal for me to photocopy an entire book that is still under copyright, especially if the work is easily available through a resource like Amazon.com or ILL, but enforcing this restrriction is not really possible and I suspect the same holds true here, but I would like an opinion on the issue.

    2. I want to make digital PDF pages of this same whole monograph, without doing an OCR transformation, in order to compare how well students learn from, and how fast they read, the digital compared to the print copy of the work. Would this be legal?

    3. If neither 1 nor 2 are legal, could I do either for smaller sections of the work, e.g. a couple of chapters out of a 15 chapter book, or of a single article in a multiauthored work made up of 10 or more articles?

    4. If any or all three of these are illegal, what liability would a third party have, such as a scanning service agency, if I asked them to do the digitization for me?
  • In my opinion, 1 & 2 are legal as they are for personal use. Not much different from making a backup copy of a software program, etc, etc #4 might be a problem, though. First of all I'm not sure a commercial vendor would do this without copyright clearance in this day and age? Maybe, but in my experience they've gotten awfully gun-shy since the Kinko's case
  • I agree with Austin. Although the copyright law says that entire books can only be reproduced by non profit libraries and archives for preservation and replacement purposes and under several strict conditions in Section 108, it does not mean that an entire book cannot be scanned for fair use reasons.
    So I treat it this situation like any other fair use determination by applying the four factors.

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