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Can I Make a Digital Copy of a Book Published before 1923?


The Library Law blog (not to be confused with the Law Librarian Blog 🙂 takes comments on this question (see full post and comments here):

“I wonder if you can help me locate information on the following scenario. I borrow a book from a library (public or school) which was published before 1923 and is therefore in the public domain. I would like to make a digital image copy of this book both for my own use and to distribute freely to others.

Assuming there’s no license or other relevant & explicit limitation on borrowers’ use of library materials, is it necessary to obtain permission from the library before doing this? Is it common for libraries to create such limitations regarding public domain works?”