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- Table of Contents -

Introduction to the online version

Chapter 1 – The Commission and Its Recommendations

Chapter 2 – The Establishment, Mandate, and Activities of the Commission

Chapter 3 – Computers and Copyright

Chapter 4 – Machine Reproduction – Photocopying

- Recommendations of the Commission

- Recommendation for Amending One Area of the 1976 Copyright Act

- Recommendations Concerning the Five-Year Review of Photocopying Practices

- Recommendations to Publishers

- Recommendations to Government Agencies

- Provisions of the 1976 Copyright Act Affecting Photocopying

- CONTU Guidelines on Photocopying under Interlibrary Loan Arrangements

- Volume of Library Photocopying in 1976

- Means of Obtaining Permission to Make Photocopies or to Obtain Authorized Copies under the 1976 Copyright Act

- Interrelated Economics of Publishing and Libraries and the Impact of Copying Fees

- Legislation and Systems Relating to Photocopying in Other Countries

- Recommendations of Interested Organizations

- Effects of Future Technological Change

Chapter 5 – Summary

Appendix A – Summary of the Legislative History of Computer-Related Issues and the Photocopy Issue

Appendix B – Public Law 93-573 and Public Law 95-146

Appendix C – Commissioners

Appendix D – Staff

Appendix E – Lists of Witnesses

Appendix F – Alphabetical Listing of Persons Appearing before the Commission

Appendix G – Transcripts of Commission Meetings

Appendix H – Summaries of Commission-Sponsored Studies

Appendix I – Bibliography

Appendix J – Selected Provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 and Copyright Office Regulations

Full table of contents

PDF version of the report

Picture of commissioners and staff

Final Report of the National Commission on New Technology Uses of Copyrighted Works

Chapter 4 – Machine Reproduction – Photocopying

Legislation and Systems Relating to Photocopying in Other Countries

The executive bodies responsible for the ad­ministration of the two international copyright conventions, the Berne Union and the Univer­sal Copyright Convention, have studied copy­right problems raised by photocopying for sev­eral years. At a joint meeting in December 1975, they decided that the subject was not yet ripe for international treatment but should be {Page 76} left for the time being to national consideration. When the two committees met again in Novem­ber and December of 1977, this earlier decision was allowed to stand, and no further consid­eration has been given to adding to the inter­national conventions’ specific provisions relat­ing to photocopying.

Meanwhile, active study of problems pre­sented by photocopying has been undertaken in a number of countries. The discussion which follows concentrates on four of these countries: Great Britain, Canada, and Australia - all of which have published official reports - and the Netherlands, where the copyright law of 1972 and subsequent administrative decrees have established a compulsory license and various schedules of fees for photocopying. Some con­sideration is also given to developments in France and the Federal Republic of Germany. Sweden operates a system under which the gov­ernment makes payments to Swedish publishers for domestic materials copied for classroom use in the elementary and secondary schools.

Great Britain

In March 1977 in Great Britain, a special committee on general copyright revision re­ported its findings and recommendations in a publication entitled Copyright and Designs Law: Report of the Committee to Consider the Law on Copyright and Designs,262 commonly re­ferred to as the Whitford Committee Report after its chairman, Justice Whitford. With respect to photocopying, the Whitford Commit­tee recommended that the British copyright law of 1958 - which, among other things, generally permits the making of single copies of articles from periodicals without authorization - be amended. The proposed amendments would permit no photocopying without authorization of the copyright proprietor, but this change would not take effect until authors and other copyright proprietors, with the approval of the government (under a so-called umbrella stat­ute), had set up one or more collecting so­cieties to collect copyright fees under blanket licenses. The fees to be charged by the collect­ing societies would be subject to review by a copyright tribunal.


The Canadian Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs published a working paper in April 1977 entitled Copyright in Canada - Proposals for a Revision of the Law, byA. A. Keyes and C. Brunet. The Department has requested interested Canadian organizations to submit written comments on this report, and oral testimony is expected to be heard in 1979. The recommendations of the Keyes-Brunet re­port are somewhat similar to those of the Whitford Committee. Keyes and Brunet be­lieve, however, that the present Canadian law adequately covers photocopying and recommend no changes in the statute. They propose that authors and other copyright proprietors form a collective or collectives, similar to those exist­ing in Canada for the collection of music performance fees, to license photocopying under the supervision of a government tribunal.


A special committee headed by Justice Franki published a report in Australia in October 1976 limited to the photocopying question entitled Report of the Copyright Law Committee on Reprographic Reproduction,frequently referred to as the Franki Report. That committee was set up largely as a result of an Australian Supreme Court decision, which held that uni­versities were liable for unauthorized photo­copying of copyrighted materials, including copying done on unsupervised coin-operated machines on their premises where no copyright warning was posted. The Franki Committee’s recommendations differ greatly from those of the Whitford Committee and of Keyes and Brunet. The Franki Report recommended that the Australian copyright law be amended to permit extensive single-copy photocopying of “reasonable portions” of copyrighted works by or on behalf of students in educational insti­tutions and patrons of public libraries, and up to six copies for classroom use in nonprofit educa­tional institutions. For copying beyond these limitations, a compulsory licensing scheme for nonprofit educational institutions was proposed.


The 1972 copyright law established liability for certain photocopying in the Netherlands {Page 77} and provided for a compulsory licensing scheme covering both Dutch and foreign works. The implementation of the general provisions was spelled out in a Royal Ordinance of 1974. In general, articles and short excerpts may be copied freely for private use. Commercial enter­prises and public institutions may also make copies by paying fees to copyright owners. In the case of commercial enterprises, the payment is required to be “equitable.” The copying fee for public authorities, universities, and public libraries is set at ten Dutch cents per page, and for schools, at two and one-half Dutch cents per page. Libraries, however, may make single copies of articles for patrons and for interlibrary loan without liability.

A Dutch collecting society representing au­thors and publishers has been established but seems not to have progressed very far as yet in collecting copying fees. The one exception has been that the Dutch government paid 100,000 guilders for its copying in the years 1975-76      and is negotiating for the payment of fees for the years 1977-79. The collecting so­ciety proposes to negotiate several blanket li­cense agreements with industry, universities, schools, libraries, and local governments. The fees collected will be distributed ultimately to the copyright proprietors whose works are copied, based on sampling and estimates. Until these arrangements can be made, any funds collected are to be distributed on an approxi­mate basis by types of works, such as news­papers, books, and periodicals.

Federal Republic of Germany

As a result of a lawsuit in the Federal Re­public of Germany, later reinforced by the en­actment of section 54(2) of that country’s Copyright Act of 1965, a partial scheme for collecting fees for the photocopying of German scientific, technical, and professional journals was set up several years ago. Corporations wish­ing to copy articles of this type published by members of the Börsenverein (short designa­tion of the publishers and booksellers associa­tion) pay for copies they make on a sliding schedule of fees. Small quantities of copying may be paid for by the purchase of stamps from an operating affiliate of the Börsenverein. A corporation may pay for larger quantities of copying in selected journals by means of a 30 percent surcharge on the subscription price. Al­ternatively, blanket copying privileges may be obtained by paying a 20 percent surcharge on all journals purchased. After the deduction of rather modest charges to cover administration expenses, the fees are distributed, with one-half going to publishers of journals and one-half to various professional societies whose members are frequently the authors of articles in the journals covered. Although this system has been in operation for some years, it has continued to be limited in scope, with only about one hundred large companies paying copying fees on some twelve hundred journals. The total annual gross revenues to the collection agency are currently less than one million Ger­man marks.


Following a court decision in France, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique has confined its photocopy services to single copies of articles for research use supplied by two in­stallations in Paris. Research use includes re­search in for-profit corporations. However, these two copying centers will not supply photocopies or microfiche of articles from issues of period­icals that are less than three months old.

There also has been a tax on the sale of photocopying machines in France since 1976. This tax, however, is not related to what is copied on the machines. The yield of the tax is not paid to authors and other copyright pro­prietors, but is distributed to French libraries for the purchase of French publications.

Next section: Recommendations of Interested Organizations

262 See note 43, supra.