Skip to Main Content


This LibGuide provides basic information about U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17) and discusses exemptions to exclusive rights.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Act (1998)

The DMCA criminalizes the circumvention of the anti-piracy measures that are built into most commercial software and other digital technology in an attempt to protect copyrighted works in a digital format.  However, the DMCA establishes limitations or exemptions that apply to libraries regarding the use and transmission of digital technology.  Specifically, the DMCA affords LLCC Library the following exemptions:

  • Grants nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions exemptions from anti-circumvention provisions under certain circumstances.
  • Releases internet providers from liability of copyright infringement for the transmission of information over the internet.  Internet Service Providers must remove material from the user’s site if it is found to be in violation of copyright code.
  • Limits the liability of nonprofit, academic institutions when the institution operates in the role of the online service provider under certain circumstances.  (This applies to possible infringement by faculty members.
  • Promotes the maintenance and development of digital libraries.  Libraries are permitted to digitize analog materials without permission for archival purposes (for storage and retrieval) provided that access to the material is available onsite only.   
  • Allows the transmission of digitized material from library to library when in analog format.  The copy must include either the copyright notice originally on the work, or the library must instead supply a notice with the copy.
  • Libraries and academic institutions are allowed to create compilations of audiovisual works for use in the classroom within certain restrictions outlined below.
  • Libraries and archives may create copies of computer programs and video games that have become obsolete when it is for the purpose of preservation.
  • Extended the terms of copyright protection for an additional twenty years.  However, libraries may make copies during this extension period for the purpose of scholarship, preservation, or research if a copy of the work is not

Section 108 Spinner

Section 108 Spinner

spinner The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 amended several areas of the U.S. copyright law law including Section 108, "Limitations on Exclusive Rights: Reproduction by Libraries and Archives." Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Code allows libraries & archives, under certain circumstances, to make reproductions of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. For example, libraries may photocopy journal articles, book chapters, etc. and send these copies to other libraries through interlibrary loan. This section also allows libraries to make copies for preservation purposes. This simple tool can help you determine whether or not a particular reproduction is covered by this exemption.