Position statement: copyright exceptions and limitations


Libraries have a globally acknowledged role to maintain and provide universal access to information to support learning, research and study, preserve cultural heritage and encourage freedom of expression and ideas. The evolution of copyright law in Australia and elsewhere has supported these critical roles through the inclusion of a number of specific and general exceptions to enable libraries to undertake activities such as preservation copying, interlibrary loans, and copying for fair dealing. Simultaneously copyright law has continued to expand in coverage and duration, which has worked to the detriment of libraries and the public domain.

NSLA has made an explicit commitment, through the initiatives of the Re-Imagining Libraries program, to expand access to collections and build an ‘anywhere, anytime’ service model that will deliver seamless and functionally integrated access to information. Within this context, NSLA will make optimum use of the library and archives exceptions to provide access to as many collection items as possible for use and re-use, and will support the ongoing development of a robust open access public domain, ensuring that the digital conversion of analogue public domain content within its collections remains within the public domain.

NSLA acknowledges and supports creators’ rights and will continue to inform and educate users about the importance of copyright law and their rights and obligations.


NSLA supports further legislative reform to ensure copyright laws keep pace with changing technologies and user expectations; provide clarity and certainty; and maintain a fair and equitable balance between the rights of authors and copyright owners and the rights of users of in-copyright works.

Download the full document below for information about:

  • contracts and statutory exceptions
  • Crown copyright
  • duration of copyright
  • fair dealing
  • inter-library loan and document supply
  • legal deposit
  • limitation on liability
  • orphan works
  • preservation
  • safe harbour for library websites
  • technological protection measures
  • implementation guidelines.