Can library staff scan an article or chapter for a student and send it to them electronically? (16 April 2012)

Under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 librarians can make a copy of an article on behalf of a student provided that they comply with the provisions set out in ss.38 and 39. The librarian must be satisfied that the purpose is non-commercial and in relation to s.40 copies should not be supplied to more than one reader at substantially the same time and for substantially the same purpose, which clearly places a restriction on students on the same course requiring the same article. The requester must pay a sum covering at least the cost of production plus general expenses of the library, and sign a declaration form before the copy is supplied.  

The responsibility for compliance once they have the copy rests with the person requesting the copy, who becomes personally liable for infringement if the copy is used for an invalid purpose. 

Beyond the question there are other routes that can be adopted to promote good practice, for example, wherever possible encourage students to access and print for themselves. This is made easy for students as many journals are available electronically, in addition there are now many e-books available which also limits the need to scan. 

Where a request is made from a student who has difficulty reading normal text and who requires access to texts in an alternative accessible format then the provisions of s.31A-F apply. In brief, the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 amended the CDPA to enable visually impaired people, in certain circumstances, to make, or have made, ‘accessible copies’ of copyright works without the need to seek permission from the copyright holder. 

The CLA licence is necessary in order to retain the digital image with a view to making it available, such as storage on the VLE. 

Posted on 16/04/2012

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