Section 108 Study

In 2005, the U.S. Copyright Office initiated a study of section 108 of the copyright law. Section 108 is often referred to as “ the library exception” because it allows libraries and archives to make reproductions of copyrighted works without the prior authorization of the rights holder under certain conditions including interlibrary loan, preservation, replacement and for library users.

The study sought to determine if section 108 should be updated to reflect changes brought about by the digital environment. A Study Group comprised of librarians, lawyers, and members of the commercial sector was appointed to review the law and comments from the public and to make recommendations for possible alterations to the law. For more information about the study, see:

ALA and other library associations have closely followed Section 108 Study Group activities, have responded to calls for written comments in Federal Register  February 15, 2006 (PDF), and  December 4, 2006 (PDF), and prepared testimony for the three public roundtables. 

In June 2006,  OITP and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) convened meetings to discuss the needs and concerns of the library, archive and museum communities regarding proposed changes to Section 108. The OITP/ARL meeting focused on specific aspects of the law likely to be proposed by the Study Group including a new digital preservation exception, off-site access to digitized replacement and preservation copies, and a new exception for preservation of websites and other online content. A second meeting was held in January 4-5, 2007, to address new questions posed by the Study Group regarding interlibrary loan and copies for users.

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ALA and ARL Comments on Access and Preservation

Section 108 Study Group Resources

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Section 108 Study Group website