What is the process for document supply?

The document delivery exception in Section 49 of the Copyright Act 1968 lets Australian libraries and archives supply copies of material in their collection to clients for research and study. But the process and record keeping requirements can be confusing. See step by step instructions below.

To comply with the document delivery exception (s49) you should take the following steps:

  1. To start the process of supply, the client must provide a request that states:
    • What material they need;
    • That the material is for their own research and study; and
    • That they have not previously been supplied with the material requested.

If possible, this request should be provided in writing (eg by filling in a form or sending an email). However, if the person cannot provide the request in writing, they can do so verbally with the library/archive keeping records. The librarian who takes the request must record that she/he believes the information is accurate.

  1. If more than a “reasonable portion” (ie 10 percent, or one chapter) is requested then the library or archive officer must check if the work is commercially available. If it is commercially available only the 10 percent/one chapter can be supplied. If it is not then the officer must make a declaration stating it is not available. They can then provide the full amount requested by the client.
  2. The officer makes the reproduction. Preservation copies may be used to make the copy for supply instead of the original work, for example for efficiency or if the original work is too delicate for scanning. 
  3. The officer affixes a notice to the reproduction stating that:
    • further dealings with the reproduction may infringe copyright; and
    • that Division 3 of Part III of the Act affects whether further dealings would infringe copyright.
  4. The officer supplies it to the client. This can be done either in hardcopy or electronically (eg via email).

  5. If the reproduction was supplied in electronic form all electronic copies made in the process that remain at the library/archive must be destroyed in a reasonable time (eg 3 weeks).

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