CODE OF BEST PRACTICES IN FAIR USE FOR ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH LIBRARIES
MAINTAINING THE INTEGRITY OF WORKS DEPOSITED IN
Many libraries that serve postsecondary institutions are developing digital
institutional repositories (or IRs) that house and provide access to a variety
of different kinds of material directly related to their institutions’ activities,
including scholarship of faculty and graduate students as well as documentation
of institutional histories. The collection and maintenance of electronic theses and
dissertations (ETDs) is a related issue. Access to ETDs and other material in IRs
may be restricted to individuals with institutional afﬁliations, but many libraries
aspire to make their contents available to the general public. Many deposited works
quote or incorporate third-party material in ways that represent appropriate fair use
by the faculty member or student in question. Librarians can and should respect
the integrity of deposited materials that include selections from copyright works
incorporated in reliance on fair use.
Use of quotations, still frames, illustrative excerpts, and the like is common practice
in scholarly writing, and is at the heart of fair use. Libraries respect the authors’
fair use rights when they accept these materials intact into the IR and make them
available unchanged to the public. Libraries that operate IRs can and should respect
and maintain the integrity of materials they accept for deposit, rather than insisting
on unnecessary permissions or requiring unnecessary deletions. Fair use makes this
possible. Many institutions use vendors to host and maintain ETDs and IRs, and
libraries should work to ensure that vendors also respect authors’ fair use rights.
It is fair use for a library to receive material for its institutional repository, and make
deposited works publicly available in unredacted form, including items that contain
copyrighted material that is included on the basis of fair use.
• In the case of publicly accessible IRs, libraries should provide copyright owners
outside the institution with a simple tool for registering objections to the use of
materials in the IR, and respond to such objections promptly.