The information below is a guide only and does not constitute expert or legal advice.

For information on copyright basics, permissions, rights and publishing refer to the Copyright in Library items information pages. 

To comply with the Australian Copyright Act 1968 we ask libraries to provide a copyright declaration where appropriate.

Libraries usually request copies under Section 50 or Section 183 of the Copyright Act. For some electronic resources, the National Library has negotiated document delivery provisions for Australian libraries however copyright restrictions will still apply.


Requests under Section 50

Under Section 50 of the Copyright Act 1968, a library may request another library to copy a 'reasonable portion' of a work to supply to a library user for the purposes of research or study or for use by a member of parliament. A library may request a copy for inclusion in their collection.

For the purposes of copyright a Library is defined as a library that makes its collections available to the public or through interlibrary loans.

What is a reasonable portion?

A 'reasonable portion' could be described as:

  • Journals - 1 article per issue, or 2 or more articles per issue if those articles relate to the same subject matter.
  • Other published works - a reasonable portion (defined as the greater of 10% or 1 chapter from a book of 10 or more pages).

The following declaration must be included on the request:

Request complies with section 50 of the Copyright Act.

Requests under Section 183

Commonwealth Government and State Government libraries may request copies under Section 183 if the libraries have entered into licence agreements with CAL for the supply of copies under Section 183 of the Copyright Act for services to the Crown. These requests should include the following declaration:

Copy required for the services of the Commonwealth/State - Please copy and supply as agent for requesting library.

There is no restrictions on the amount which may be copied under Section 183.

Requests from Parliamentary Libraries

Requests from Parliamentary libraries maybe for the use of members of Parliament. There is no limit of the amount of copying that can be done under these provisions. Requests should include the following declaration:

The principal purpose of this request is to provide library services for a member of parliament or for the sole purpose of assisting a member of parliament in the performance of his or her duties as a member.

Parliamentary libraries may also request copies under Section 50 (for inclusion in the library's collection or to supply to an end user for research or study).

Requests from Corporate libraries

Corporate libraries may make requests under Section 50 (for inclusion in the library's collection or to supply to an end user for research or study). For these types of requests follow the guidelines at point 1 above.

Corporate libraries may sometimes require material for purposes other than research or study (eg for general business purposes). If the organisation has a Corporate Licence with CAL the National Library of Australia may copy on their behalf. The following declaration should be included on the request:

Copy required for the purposes of the Corporation operating under licence from CAL. Please copy and supply as agent for requesting library.

Requests from non-profit organisations

Libraries of non-profit organisations such as associations, local councils, societies and unions may make requests under Section 50 (for inclusion in the library's collection or to supply to an end user for research or study). For these types of requests follow the guidelines at point 1 above.

Non-profit organisations may sometimes require material for purposes other than research or study. If the organisation has an Associations Licence with CAL the National Library of Australia may copy on their behalf. The following declaration should be included on the request:

Copy required for the purposes of the Association operating under licence from CAL. Please copy and supply as agent for requesting library.

More information about copyright

For more information about copyright in Australia and overseas see the Library’s listing of useful copyright resources.


Disclaimer: The Copyright Act 1968 contains a series of provisions relating to permissible copying of copyrighted works. The National Library has not and does not make any warranty, statement or representation about the completeness of this document for compliance with the Copyright Act.