CODE OF BEST PRACTICES IN FAIR USE FOR ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH LIBRARIES
transformative uses of the collection as a whole—see principle seven below regarding
digitization for search and other nonconsumptive uses.
It is fair use to create digital versions of a library’s special collections and archives and
to make these versions electronically accessible in appropriate contexts.
• Providing access to published works that are available in unused copies on the
commercial market at reasonable prices should be undertaken only with careful
consideration, if at all. To the extent that the copy of such a work in a particular
collection is unique (e.g., contains marginalia or other unique markings or
characteristics), access to unique aspects of the copy will be supportable under
fair use. The presence of non-unique copies in a special collection can be
indicated by descriptive entries without implicating copyright.
• Where digitized special collections are posted online, reasonable steps should be
taken to limit access to material likely to contain damaging or sensitive private
• Full attribution, in a form satisfactory to scholars in the ﬁeld, should be
provided for all special collection items made available online, to the extent it is
reasonably possible to do so.
• The fair use case will be even stronger where items to be digitized consist largely
of works, such as personal photographs, correspondence, or ephemera, whose
owners are not exploiting the material commercially and likely could not be
located to seek permission for new uses.
• Libraries should consider taking technological steps, reasonable in light of
both the nature of the material and of institutional capabilities, to prevent
downloading of digital ﬁles by users, or else to limit the quality of ﬁles to what is
appropriate to the use.
• Libraries should also provide copyright owners with a simple tool for registering
objections to online use, and respond to such objections promptly.