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Information about Copyright

About Copying Service and Copyright

1. Copyright

Copyright is a legal right that grants to the authors of a novel, an article, a paper, a picture, a photograph, a map, a musical score, or other original work exclusive rights for use and distribution. Thus, there are legal limits to how much of a copyrighted work a library may reproduce. As a general rule, a library can only provide one copy of a part of a work.
Under Japanese law, copyright protection continues "until the end of a period of fifty years following the death of the author" or, in cases where the work bears the name of a corporate body, "until the end of a period of fifty years following the making public of the work."

Thus, even when a publication is out of print or the corporate body holding the copyright is now defunct, in principle, we cannot provide a copy of work in its entirety as long as it is subject to copyright protection. In cases where you wish to copy a work in its entirety, please see 5. Procedure necessary for permission to copy a work in its entirety.

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2. Limits on copying books: definition of the term "a part of a work"

In general, the term "a part of a work" is interpreted to mean no more than 50% of the original work. The extent of permissible copying varies with the type of work, as described in the following examples. For serial publications, please see 3. Limits on copying serial publications.

Type of the work Limit of copying
Monographs Main text: half
Contents and index: all
Preface, commentary, etc.: half of the preface, commentary, etc.
Collected editions, anthologies of short stories, collected papers, etc. Half of each story, thesis, etc.
Doctoral dissertations Half of the dissertation
Codes and standards National standard or government standard (Japanese and overseas): all
Other standards: half of each text
Codes and standards translated by Japanese Standards Association (JSA) or others: half of each text
Commentary written by JSA etc.: half of each text
Maps Sheet map: half of each map
Atlas: either page of two-page spread
a map produced by the Geographical Survey Institute (except for CD-ROM): all (If your reproduction request is for the purpose of your own investigation or research.)
Photographs Half of each photograph (We do not copy photographs smaller than one page.)
If the photograph was published in 1957 or before, or if the photograph is in a magazine or newspaper, you can get a copy of the entire photograph from any issue except the last one.
Pictures Half of each picture (We do not copy pictures smaller than one page.)
If the picture is in a magazine or newspaper, you can get a copy of the entire picture from any issue except the last one.
Music score, lyrics Half of each musical score or lyric sheet (We do not copy musical scores or lyric sheets smaller than one page.
If the musical score or lyric sheet is in a magazine or newspaper, you can get a copy of the entire musical score or lyric sheet from any issue except the last one.

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3. Limits on copying serial publications

Articles in any issue except the last one of a magazine or newspaper may be copied in its entirety.

Multiple articles may be copied from a single issue, but the total pages copied must not exceed half of all the pages in the issue.
An exception can be made for a single article that exceeds half of all the pages in the issue to allow the article to be copied in its entirety.
Any issue of a serial publication can be copied, provided that a significant period of time has passed since publication of the last issue.

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4. Purpose of copying

Reproduction of library materials is allowed only for the limited purposes specified under the Copyright Law, such as for the user's own investigation or research or for judicial proceedings. For any other purposes, permission of the copyright holder is required, regardless of the amount of copying.

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5. Procedure necessary for permission to copy a work in its entirety

Written permission of the copyright holder is required. Any format that clearly shows the copyright holder has granted permission with his/her seal or signature is acceptable. Please submit the written permission and Application for Permission to Photocopy together with your copy request.

If you cannot find the copyright holder or the contact address of copyright holder, you may apply for a compulsory license from the Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs. For more information, please see the Agency for Cultural Affairs Homepage (in Japanese)

Example of written permission from a copyright holder
To [your name]:
I consent to your request to obtain from the National Diet Library
(NDL) a reproduction of all pages of [name of the publication]
owned by the NDL.
Date:
[Name of the copyright holder]
[Seal or signature]

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