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Copyright & Intellectual Property


Balanced copyright law is critical to research libraries’ ability to fulfill their missions of preserving and providing access to the cultural and historical record.

Copyright touches on a number of areas, including:

  • Providing accessible formats to people with disabilities
  • Creating searchable databases
  • Breaking “digital locks” known as technological protection measures
  • Addressing orphan works
  • Preserving, Sharing, and Reusing existing materials, including for teaching and research purposes

ARL advocates for balanced copyright in the judicial, legislative, and executive branches; creates educational resources, Codes of Best Practices, infographics, briefing papers, and other materials; and celebrates important elements of copyright law including the public domain and fair use/fair dealing.


  • Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries

    The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries is a clear and easy-to-use statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use developed by and...

  • Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation

    Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation

    The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation provides clear guidance on the legality of archiving legacy software to ensure continued access to digital files of all...

  • Copyright Timeline: A History of Copyright in the United States

    18th-19th Centuries | 20th-21st Centuries | Bibliography and Resources The history of American copyright law originated with the introduction of the printing press to England in the late fifteenth century....

  • Fair Use

    Legislation in support of fair use has been considered by the US Congress for many years. These bills sought to ensure the vitality of fair use in the digital environment....

  • International Copyright & IP

    ARL, as a member of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), engages on a number of international copyright and intellectual property issues. In addition, ARL monitors Canadian copyright issues via the...

  • Libraries Open World of Knowledge for People with Visual Disabilities

    Libraries Open World of Knowledge for People with Visual Disabilities

    On April 23, 2018, World Book and Copyright Day, Gulnaz Juzbaeva made history by borrowing a book. “One of the main obstacles I’ve encountered in school and university is the...

  • Library Copyright Alliance

    The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) consists of three major library associations — the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries—that cooperate...

  • Public Domain Day

    Public Domain Day

    A rich, robust public domain provides the building blocks of creation and culture. Works in the public domain are free to use without permission and can be reproduced, distributed, performed,...


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