Paying CCC for permission to add article to Vertical File

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  • This is probably a stupid question -- or at least maybe a no-brainer to those who are more familiar with copyright:

    Someone wants me to ILL an article, and then pay CCC for permission to add the article into our Vertical File collection (ie adding it to our collection so that it can be distributed to our library users). I'm assuming that this is an acceptable practice, but I've only used CCC to report ILL articles the exceed the "rule of 5."

    My assumption is: I can use the same transactional reporting service to pay for permision to add the article. Am I correct? Or do I have to contact the journal's publisher for permission?

    If it helps, all of these articles are dated before 1950 -- so it's not a matter of purchasing back copies to add to our collection.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance!

  • The simple answer:
    I believe you can do this, but I'm not sure. However, I think you can contact the CCC, tell them what you want to do, and ask them if the license covers it. My understanding is that the license varies by copyright holder, but I'm not sure.

    The more complex answer:
    I am a proponent of using fair use whenever possible. I request permission or recommend that others request permission in as few cases as possible. Although I have suggested that people consider getting permission, I don't recall ever being presented with a situation where permission was clearly required. I don't doubt the existence of such situations, but I've never been asked to comment on one.

    I don't work in ILL and am only vaguely familiar with things like the "rule of 5."

    Therefore, I can and did give you a simple answer that is, in my opinion, adequate but not very good. I can and will give you a much better but more complex answer that I think is very useful in your situation but doesn't answer the question you actually asked.

    First, I'm confused about the person's request. It appears to me that the person is requesting the articles not for his or her own use but for the benefit of others. However, the facts that these articles must be obtained through ILL, were published before 1950, and will be placed in the vertical file suggests to me that the articles might not be very beneficial.

    Keep in mind that I have no idea what kind of library we are discussing. The head of the R&D department at a company might tell her staff that these articles are important and can be found in the corporate library's vertical file. However, a well-meaning but eccentric citizen could request obscure articles that will languish in the vertical file in a large public library.

    There is no way to give you a definitive answer about fair use because that's the way the law is. You cannot be 100% certain that your use if fair without going to court and having a judge make a determination. That's one reason why people use permission even in cases when it isn't necessary. I could be more definitive if I knew more details, but my answer should give you enough information to make your own determination.

    Fair use is determined by using four factors:
    1. Character of use. Commercial vs. educational. Your use seems to be clearly not directly commercial. You might worry about this if your use is indirectly commercial, which might be true if you are in a corporate library. This probably works in your favor.

    2. Nature of work. Creative vs. factual. This is hard to simplify. I'd assume that fiction or any article published in a major magazine is creative while articles from academic journals are probably more factual. Let's assume this factor works against you.

    3. Amount used. The whole article works against you.

    4. Effect on market. This is by far the most important factor in the opinion of most experts. Without knowing the details of your situation, I cannot imagine that you use would affect the market in any way. If that's really the case, then I think your use is clearly fair regardles of factors 2 and 3.

    If you'd like to give me more details, I will give you a more specific answer. However, based on my limited knowledge of your situation, I would get the articles and put them in the vertical file without requesting permission. If you are uncomfortable with that, then I would tell the CCC what you want to do and ask if it is permissable. If you are uncomfortable with that, contact the journals' publishers.

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