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Copyright and Scholarship


Best Practices in Fair Use

Copyright and scholarly communication information for the Boston College community.

Best Practices in Fair Use

In January 2012, the Association of Research Libraries released a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.

The Code attempts to identify norms of fair use within the academic library community.

"It identifies eight situations that represent the library community’s current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials and describes a carefully derived consensus within the library community about how those rights should apply in certain recurrent situations."

The eight situations are:

  • Supporting Teaching and Learning with Access to Library Materials via Digital Technologies
  • Using Selections from Collection Materials to Publicize a Library’s Activities, or to Create Physical and Virtual Exhibitions
  • Digitizing to Preserve At-Risk Items
  • Creating Digital Collections of Archival and Special Collections Materials
  • Reproducing Material for Use by Disabled Students, Faculty, Staff, and Other Appropriate Users
  • Maintaining the Integrity of Works Deposited in Institutional Repositories
  • Creating Databases to Facilitate Non Consumptive Research Uses (Including Search)
  • Collecting Material Posted on the World Wide Web and Making It Available

For each situation the code sets forth a basic principle of good practice, identifies limitations applying to the principle, and outlines some actions libraries may take to enhance their fair use claim.