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Interlibrary Loan (or Resource Sharing): Copyright

Login to Interlibrary Loan or WorldCat. How to use these services. Policies.

Important Copyright Information

Compliance with Copyright Law

By registering to use interlibrary loan services and submitting requests for materials, users accept responsibility for complying with United States Copyright Law.


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of those specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research". If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use", that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgement, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

How does copyright work in ILL?

Interlibrary loan services are allowed to obtain copyrighted material from other libraries if that material is intended  for private study and research. It may not be shared with others or used for profit. Faculty may not use interlibrary loan services to request materials for course reserve. Copyright permissions are obtained and fees paid on any material that exceeds the amounts specified by the CONTU guidelines which aid the interpretation of U.S. copyright law.

This is just a very brief introduction to copyright as it applies it interlibrary loan. Copyright rules are quite complicated.

Journal articles:

Copyright fees apply after we receive more than five articles per journal title per calendar year for journals published within the last five years. (This is the "rule-of-five" from the CONTU guidelines). For publications more than five years old staff determine what total quantity of copying is appropriate.

If one person orders two or more articles from a single recent journal issue then copyright fees also apply. We cannot order complete journal issues via interlibrary loan. If you wish to see an entire issue, please contact the ILL department, and staff will investigate if it is possible to purchase the issue.

Brandeis library pays the copyright fees for copies received on behalf of our students, faculty and researchers. Copyright fees per article can vary a great deal from journal to journal, ranging from about $10 to $60 or more, $30-$40 is usual.

Book chapters:

Copyright also applies to copies of book chapters. If you need more than one chapter please order the actual book instead.


We do not pay interlibrary loan copyright fees for materials that Brandeis owns, for most government documents, or for Open Access materials.

Books published in the United States prior to 1923 are copyright-free (these are in the public domain).

More information:

For more copyright information and resources see the LTS Copyright Guide

Contact Us

Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery:

Hours: 8:30am–4:30pm, M–F

Phone: 781-736-4676


Fax: 781-736-4724

Information and Borrowing Desk:

Phone: 781-736-5626 (or 781-736-LOAN)

Problems or emergencies:
Contact the Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery department during business hours. If you need to report a problem after 4:30pm or during the weekend, please contact the Information and Borrowing Desk.

Mailing address:
Brandeis University
Library, Interlibrary Loan
415 South Street, MS 045
Waltham, MA  02453-2728

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