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Copyright: Reproduction by Libraries

What is Section 108?

108. Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives

Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act allows libraries and archives to use reproduce, lend, etc. copyrighted works (under certain conditions) without needing permission from the copyright holder. Section 108 "provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives to make copies in specified instances for preservation, replacement, and patron access" (Stanford Libraries).

According to the Oregon State University Libraries LibGuide on Copyright and Fair Use, Section 108 allows libraries and archives to:

  • Make one copy of an item held by a library for interlibrary loan;
  • Make up to three copies of a damaged, deteriorated, lost, or stolen work for the purpose of replacement. This only applies if a replacement copy is not available at a fair price;
  • Make up to three copies of an unpublished work held by the library for the purpose of preservation.  If the copy is digital, it cannot be circulated outside the library;
  • Reproduce, distribute, display, or perform a published  work that is in its last 20 years of copyright for the purposes of preservation, research, or scholarship if the work is not available at a fair price or subject to commercial exploitation;
  • Make one copy of an entire work for a user or library who requests it if the work isn't available at a fair price.

Additional restrictions and limitations may apply. Consult the additional resources on this page to learn more.

Section 108 Resources


The staff of the Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library are not lawyers, nor are they copyright experts. Digital Initiatives will provide help to the best of their ability, but any information provided does not constitute legal advice.

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Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.