Impacts on Research and Libraries if
International ILL Practices Are Modified
The Interlibrary Loan Code for the US states, “Interlibrary loan transactions with
libraries outside of the United States are governed by the International Federation
of Library Associations and Institutions’ International Lending: Principles and
Guidelines for Procedure.”6 The IFLA guidelines state that “each country has a
special responsibility to supply its own national imprints to libraries in other
countries” in order to promote “universal availability of published material.”7
The guidelines stipulate that “all reasonable efforts should be made to satisfy
international requests,” but also affirm the importance of respect for copyright,
indicating that “each supplying library should be aware of, and work within, the
copyright laws of its own country” and that “the requesting library should pay
due regard to the copyright laws of the supplying library’s country.”8
Current practice allows research libraries to fulfill their “special responsi-
bility” to promote “universal availability of published material.” Changes to
these practices in the US could limit scholarship while imposing new costs on
libraries and their institutions. Changes that would require US research libraries
to provide special handling for international requests would have a negative
impact on ILL operations, are unnecessary, and would not be cost-effective.
Although mechanisms do not exist for supplying libraries to track inter-
national lending requests, requesting libraries throughout the world have tools
through which they can pay rights holders for copies. For example, the Copyright
Clearance Center (CCC) collects approximately US$39.4 million in rights
payments annually from international sources.9
Libraries already devote considerable effort and expense to ensuring
compliance with copyright laws. If additional requirements for fulfilling
international ILL requests were imposed, it would place new burdens on
research libraries with regards to workflow and costs. Although guidelines
issued by the Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works
(CONTU) do not have the full force of law, these guidelines have become the
de facto practice for US libraries. These guidelines place the burden for paying
copyright fees on the requesting libraries, and it would be both undesirable and
impractical to transfer responsibility for ensuring compliance to supplying
libraries for only international requests.
Libraries not only respect and voluntarily pay copyright fees when
appropriate, but they also constitute the bulk of the market for the content
RLI 275
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White Paper: International Interlibrary Loan
(
C O N T I N U E D
)
JUNE 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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