How is it a violation if the article is recorded (as if you had requested it via ILL) and all applicable fees paid, if necessary? Just curious...

Mollie W. Titus, MLIS
Librarian & Information Specialist

Medical Library & Community Health Information Center
Self Regional Healthcare
1325 Spring Street
Greenwood, SC  29646
Tel. 864-725-4851 or 4797; Fax 864-725-4838
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From: Professionals interested in interlibrary loan, doc delivery & resource sharing [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Gail Heideman
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 1:25 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ILL-L] Document delivery question

I will agree with one point from this email.

I will not download an article and attach it to an email for a student if it is something I just found on the internet.  Since I did not obtain that from another library as part of an Interlibrary Loan transaction, that would seem to be a possible legal issue.  I would only send them a link (that they could have obtained themselves if they had just Googled the title of the article).

One library that responded to me said that they saved the articles and emailed them to the patrons.  That, I think, would be a violation of Fair Use.  But, that is only my opinion.

I am not a lawyer and I cannot give legal advice.  This is just my own reasoning.

Gail Heideman   |   Assistant Librarian in Public Services   |   Ruby E Dare Library   |   618-664-6609


Think before you print.

From: Professionals interested in interlibrary loan, doc delivery & resource sharing [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Phil Isaaks
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 12:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ILL-L] Document delivery question

"Are you saying that if we Google the title of an article a student wants and find it online for free we cannot give the student a link to that article, because we do not know if it is legally available online?  We can't give it to a student because we don't know if the author has permission from the publisher?"

Good point. My personal research deals specifically in law and I want to declare straight out that I am not a qualified individual to interpret nor apply the law anywhere in the United States or anywhere in the world. My research is personal and does not represent anyone nor any institution.

The intent of my original message is to thoroughly explain to new hires why you shouldn't link or download articles from non-publisher electronic databases. Also, as an assistant, not a librarian, I have to follow the rules to the letter (I'm paranoid that way). Explaining proper procedure and delivery is important to me as I am looking for an ILL specialist position. Furthermore, new employees always seem to ask me "Why do I have to do this particular method?" and I would like to provide them with a proper answer rather than saying "I was trained that way."

Rationale (providing links via email): The author who first downloaded their own article from the publisher website and uploaded to their own website, if they did not expressly state that they retained full copyright and have a license to distribute, they essentially violated their license agreement with the publisher. (See "Agreement In Relation To Copyright In An Article," "Journal Contributor's Publishing Agreement," etc. for the big publishers). Since authors transferred their copyright and the exclusive right to distribute their article to the publisher,  the author does not have the license to distribute the article through the internet.

As such, the uploaded copyrighted material has not been legally obtained by the author and its distribution is a violation of the publisher's rights or contract. I think that linking to infringing works is not illegal but redistributing that link to save money might be in violation with certain publisher agreements (correct me if I'm wrong, but I was looking at "contributory copyright infringement"). I think that downloading from an infringing website and distributing the work to a patron might also be in violation. After all, doing so duplicates the file from a non-licensed vendor, and the library, as a non-licensed journal provider, redistributes it to the patron. Both methods circumvent fees (I have no idea if fair use applies to illegally obtained files) to the publisher.

Legal ways: However, the ILL system provides a legal way to distribute and receive copyrighted materials to and from licensed institutions. Some libraries might be able to do it for free (since all it takes is a quick click of a button). Or if the library has an electronic subscription to the article, then a persistent link to the article works just fine.

From an assistant point of view, they must follow the rules of the library. From a librarian point of view, it is up to them to decide how properly convey the information.

Again, this is my own personal research and it may be completely wrong. I'd like to know what other librarians think.

- Phil Isaaks