Copying that does not need the Library's permission

If you copy items from the Library's collections without seeking any additional permission from us, you accept the responsibility to make sure you do not infringe copyright or moral rights, as set out on the page Your responsibilities. If you ask the Library to do the copying for you, you will be asked to confirm that either the permission of the copyright owner has been obtained or no such permission is necessary (for instance because an exception applies). For details, see What can I copy without the copyright owner's permission?

Copying that does need the Library's permission

In contrast, some rare or unique collection items may have access restrictions that require permission from the Library before you copy them. This permission does not relate to any copyright in the item, but relates to collection management issues, such as handling items with care and ensuring the Library is properly attributed.

The Library's permission to copy these items is needed for two reasons:

  • We need to check whether any special restrictions apply to the works. A special restriction may apply, for example, because we agreed to a request by a collection donor that they retain control of copying for a certain period, even though they may not own copyright in the works they donated. These restrictions are often requested because the material contains private or sensitive information.
  • We need to secure your agreement to cite the creator and title of the rare or unique work you are copying, and to acknowledge the Library as the owner. That way, anyone who comes across your reproduction can trace the material back to the Library's collection. The Library does not charge for permission to reproduce rare and unique works from its collections.

Rare or unique works are often fragile or valuable and can only be copied by Library staff on your behalf.  Place your order through Copies Direct. When you place an order, we will tell you whether copyright or any other restrictions apply.

Copying digitised material from the Library's collections

You may find digital copies of items from the Library's collections, such as photographs or recorded interviews, on the Library's website and catalogue. Where this material is out of copyright it may be freely used provided the Library and the creator are acknowledged; however, the Library does not endorse any inappropriate or derogatory use.

Where this material is in copyright, you need to ask the Library's permission unless your use falls within one of the exceptions, such as research or study. The Library's permission is needed because a copyright owner may have allowed us to put a copy on our website but not allowed us to authorise uses beyond research or study.

Place your request to copy items from the Library's catalogue through Copies Direct. When you place an order, we will tell you whether copyright or any other restrictions apply.

For further information about obtaining the Library's permission to copy items found on the National Library's website (not in the catalogue), please Ask a Librarian.