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Copyright: Library and Accessibility

There are specific provisions in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) to allow some copying and communication of copyright material by libraries and archives, and also for the provision of accessible material for people with disabilities.

Copying for clients’ research or study

Under the Copyright Act (s49), a library may copy published written, artistic and musical works in its collection for people who have requested the material for their research or study. The request must be in writing and must contain a declaration from the person requesting the copy that is only for research or study and not for any other purpose, and that the person has not been previously supplied with a copy of the same work by the library.

There is no specific equivalent provision which allows copying of audio-visual material such as CDs and DVDs.

The following copying limits apply:

For periodical publications - one article, or two or more articles from the same issue if the articles are for the same research or course of study

For a work in hardcopy form (other than an article in a periodical publication) - 10% or one chapter, whichever is the greater. If more than this is required, the library officer must first be satisfied that the work to be copied is not available for purchase, new, as a separate publication, at an ordinary commercial price within a reasonable time.

For a work in electronic form, 10% of the words in the work. If more than this is required the library office must be satisfied that the work is not available for purchase, new, as a separate publication, at an at an ordinary commercial price within a reasonable time.

Any copies made by the Library in the process of delivering the copy to the client (e.g. a scanned document emailed to a student) should be destroyed or deleted as soon as practicable after a reproduction is communicated.


Interlibrary loan exception

The interlibrary loan exception the Copyright Act (s50) permits a library to make a copy of a text or artistic work for either a user of another library, or to be included in another library’s collection, if it receives a written request. Where a library requests a copy of material from another library under this exception, it must complete an interlibrary request form in the required form (also known as Document Delivery Request). This exception does not apply to audio-visual material or sound recordings.

The copying limits are the same as those set out above in relation to the copying for users in s49.

COVID-19 and Copyright

As the University responds to COVID-19, is delivering more classes online, it is important to note that obligations under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) and existing educational licences still apply.

The Teaching page of this Copyright Guide provides guidance on online delivery for different types of source material. The Copyright Act does allow for exceptions under certain conditions, however these are to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

TUA also encourages the use of Creative Commons (CC) licensed material and Open Educational Resources (OER), which are free to access, modify and share.

You can read more about providing access to material at The Australian Libraries Copyright Committee's page: Remote supply - information for libraries and archives during the COVID 19 shutdown.