Column Editor: Laura N. Gasaway (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Law, Chapel Hill, NC 27599; Phone: 919-962-2295; Fax: 919-962-1193)

QUESTION:  The staff in a health sciences library regularly supplies copies of articles from journals in its collection to unaffiliated customers for a fee.  These customers include lawyers, researchers, and community health professionals.  The library also fills requests from members of the general public for copies of library documents that are listed in a locally produced health bibliographic database.  The library is considering charging a fee for copies of these documents that are not online.  Do these activities make the library a commercial document delivery service?  Does it have to pay royalties anyway?  Is there a standard cost recovery formula?  If so, does it make any difference that publishers can now provide the same service to users for a fee?

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