CODE OF BEST PRACTICES IN FAIR USE FOR ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH LIBRARIES
copy has no negative effect on the potential market of the preserved work (indeed,
preserving the work for posterity should have a positive effect, if any). To justify
the effort and expense of digital preservation, the works preserved will typically be
unique, rare, or, in any event, out-of-commerce, and the library’s activities therefore
will not be mere substitutes for acquisition of a new digital copy of the work. Works
in obscure, near-obsolete formats present access challenges as well as preservation
ones, but the same fair use rationales will apply. Works trapped in decaying and
increasingly obscure formats will disappear completely without diligent work from
librarians to migrate them to usable formats.
It is fair use to make digital copies of collection items that are likely to deteriorate,
or that exist only in difﬁcult-to-access formats, for purposes of preservation, and
to make those copies available as surrogates for fragile or otherwise inaccessible
• Preservation copies should not be made when a fully equivalent digital copy is
commercially available at a reasonable cost.
• Libraries should not provide access to or circulate original and preservation
• Off-premises access to preservation copies circulated as substitutes for original
copies should be limited to authenticated members of a library’s patron
community, e.g., students, faculty, staff, afﬁliated scholars, and other accredited
• Full attribution, in a form satisfactory to scholars in the ﬁeld, should be
provided for all items made available online, to the extent it can be determined
with reasonable effort.
• Fair use claims will be enhanced when libraries take technological steps to limit
further redistribution of digital surrogates, e.g., by streaming audiovisual media,
using appropriately lower-resolution versions, or using watermarks on textual
materials and images.