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In some cases, a country may not have a specific statutory library exception. Yet libraries may still be entitled to engage in many of the activities described above, if those countries have a broader provision that would permit any citizen, which would include librarians and library patrons, to undertake these activities. This is true, for example, in Iraq and Namibia. Some countries limit their exceptions to a list of designated libraries; in other countries, the exceptions are available to all libraries that meet certain requirements, such as being open to the public and acting for non-commercial purposes.

Compulsory licenses

In addition to the exceptions and limitations surveyed above, many countries limit the rights of copyright holders with so-called "compulsory licenses." Compulsory licenses are often seen as compromises between the economic interests of copyright holders and the public’s interest in using copyrighted material. For example,  Article 13 of the Berne Convention  gives countries the authority to impose compulsory licenses for the use of musical compositions. Examples of compulsory licenses existing in some countries include the right of public lending by libraries, and the right of private coping of audio recordings in exchange for a tax on blank CDs. This will be further discussed in  Module 5: Managing Rights .

Back to the case study

Unfortunately, unless the compositions in Angela's collection have fallen into the public domain, there is no simple answer to Angela's question. Nadia would be obliged to review the details of the particular system of exceptions and limitations contained in her country's copyright law to ascertain, first, whether she would be permitted to make a digital copy of each piece of sheet music and, second, whether the library would be permitted to post the digital copy of it on the library's servers. It is more likely that the first of these activities would be permitted than that the second activity would be permitted, but neither issue could be definitively resolved without consulting the country's laws.

Additional resources

In 2001, Siva Vaidhyanathan published  Copyrights and Copywrongs: the Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity . The thesis of this highly accessible book is well captured by its title. For an interview with Vaidhyanathan, in which he summarizes his argument, see  Copyrights and Copywrongs . For a similarly accessible study that takes a much more favorable view of the evolution of the rights and exceptions associated with copyright, see Paul Goldstein,  Copyright's Highway: From Gutenberg to the Celestial Jukebox  (2003) -- available only in  print  or via  audio download .

The most comprehensive examination of the provisions of each country's copyright laws that provide flexibility to librarians is Kenneth Crews,  Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives .

Another highly useful study is International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions,  Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright and Neighbouring Rights in the Digital Environment: An International Library Perspective .

Two helpful WIPO studies are  WIPO Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired  and  WIPO Study on Limitations and Exceptions of Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Environment .

Copyright Exceptions in the UK  is just what it says.

For a highly accessible study of latitude that filmmakers (particularly in the United States) enjoy when quoting copyrighted material, see Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi,  Recut, Reframe, Recycle  (Center for Social Media 2008).


The following judicial opinions explore and apply some of the principles discussed in this module:

Larrikin Music v. Men at Work  (Australia 2010) (right of reproduction)

Case C-5/08, Infopaq International A/S v. Danske Dagblades Forening  (right of reproduction)

Gilham v. R, Court of Appeal of England and Wales (Court of Appeal of England and Wales), 2009  (right of reproduction)

J.K. Rowling v. RDR Books, 575 F.Supp.2d 513 (2009)  (derivative works)

Case C-306/05, Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España (SGAE) v. Rafael Hoteles SA  (Meaning of Communication to the Public)

Case C-479/04, Laserdisken ApS v. Kulturministeriet  (Exhaustion)

Case C-245/00, Stichting ter Exploitatie van Naburige Rechten (SENA) v. Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS)  (Rental Rights – Equitable Remuneration)

Cour de cassation (1re ch. civ.), 28 février 2006, Studio Canal, Universal Pictures video France et SEV c/ S. Perquin et Ufc que Choisi r  (Private Copies – Technological Protections)

Sweden: B 13301-06, 17 April 2009 (Pirate Bay Case)  (Meaning of Making Available)

Buffet v. Fersig, Judgment of May 30, 1962, Cour d'appel, Paris, 1962 Recueil Dalloz [D. Jur.] 570 (described in  Merryman, The Refrigerator of Bernard Buffet , 27 Hastings L.J. 1023 (1976)) (moral rights)

Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569 (1994)  (fair use)

Germany: Bundesverfassungsgericht, Urteil vom 17. Februar 1998, - 1 BvF 1/97  (Right to Short Reporting)

Assignment and discussion questions


1. Are the restrictions that copyright law places on librarians in your country too strict, too loose or the right balance? Use the references in the list of Additional Resources (below) to locate the list of library exceptions applicable in your own country. Summarize the principal exceptions.

2. Imagine and describe a project that you would like to develop at your library but that would not be permitted by the copyright laws in your country. Draft an amendment to your national copyright statute that would cover this use.

Discussion question(s)

Comment upon some of the amendment proposals of your colleagues.


This module was created by  Emily Cox . It was then edited by a team including  Sebastian DiazWilliam FisherUrs GasserAdam HollandKimberley IsbellPeter JasziColin MaclayAndrew Moshirnia , and  Chris Peterson .

Questions & Answers

are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
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what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
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Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
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I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
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What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
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Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
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Source:  OpenStax, Copyright for librarians. OpenStax CNX. Jun 15, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11329/1.2
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