Library provisions for preservation and other purposes

Libraries and archives (including galleries and museums), are able to make copies of original copyright material held in their collections for preservation, research or administrative purposes.

To make use of these provisions, libraries must be open to the public, either directly or through inter-library loan requests, while archives do not have to be open to members of the public, but must be non-profit.

Preservation Purposes

Preservation copies can be made of copyright material held in a library collection.  This includes textual material, such as books, journals, manuscripts, sheet music and dramatic works as well as audio-visual material, such images and artistic works, films or sound recordings.

The provision applies to both published and unpublished material.  However, if the work was published or made public available, the preservation copy can only be made available if a copy is not available in the format required.  For example, if making a copy of a film on a VHS tape and a digital copy can be purchased then a copy should be purchased.  However, if the commercial available copy is subject to propriety digital rights management software that affects how it can be accessed and therefore it may not be suitable for a library collection then a preservation copy can be made.  For example, if a digital copy was available via iTunes this may not be suitable for preservation purposes as generally content from iTunes can only be used by the individual purchasing it and within the iTunes software.

The commercial availability requirement does not apply to original material, such as manuscripts, letters, diaries, home videos etc, if the material was subsequently published.  For example, we can make a preservation copy of a manuscript of the Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer, even though a published edition of the Female Eunuch can be purchased. In the case of original material if the original is stolen, lost or deteriorates or the format changes then further copies can be made from the preservation copy.

Preservation copies can be made in line with preservation best practice.  This means there are no specified limits on the number of copies made or formats used.  The number of copies and formats will depend on the type of material, its condition and original format.

A third party can preserve material on behalf of a library – for example if specialist equipment or expertise is required.

Preservation copies can be made at any time that best practice deems appropriate - subject to commercial availability.  Copies can be made of both old or new material. Copies can be made at the time of purchase, acquisition or at point of access rather than waiting for the item to be lost, stolen, damaged or to deteriorate. For example, if recently purchased material is deemed to be too fragile to be handled or is a significant item that is at risk of loss or damage and a replacement is not commercially available, a preservation copy can be made at that time.

Libraries and archives do not have to retain the source copy from which the preservation copy was made if they do not wish to.  For example, it may be more appropriate to destroy material if it is in an obsolete format, badly damaged or hazardous to health and it would be costly or difficult to store the material.  If the original source copy is destroyed and further preservation copies or copies for other purposes are required, these can be made from the preservation copy.

Copies can be made in either hardcopy or electronic formats depending on what is required and preservation best practice.  If electronic copies are made available to be accessed by a library user – reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that person accessing the material does not infringe copyright. For example, by including a copyright warning notice with the material or providing access via a tablet device that restricts the ability to copy, print or download the material.  In some circumstances, other provisions may allow the user to reproduce or download the material, for example for research or study or educational purposes.  This should be negotiated with library, archives or Copyright Office staff.  It may not be possible to make preservation copies of material available on open access via the University’s repository. This should only occur within the Library’s digitisation policies and procedures.

Research purposes

Library or archives staff are permitted to make a research copy of material held in its collection to enable research to be carried out on its premises or by another library or archive.

Administration of the Collection

Library or archives staff are permitted to make use of copyright material for administrative purposes directly related to the care or control of the collection.  The types of activities that this might cover include:

  • Use of material in an Exhibition – for example where material is too fragile to be displayed.  This provision does not necessarily extend to an online exhibition or including material an exhibition catalogue or marketing material – please contact the Copyright Office for more information.
  • Training staff – for example in how to make repair or restore damaged material or make preservation copies.
  • Making a back-up copy
  • Reporting (e.g. to the government) and record keeping

As with the preservation purposes, there is no limit on the number or format of copies that can be made. This would be subject to what is required for the administrative purpose.