What is Library Privilege?

On Demand copyright

Academic and non-commercial customers registered with the British Library, except those based in the USA, may access the collection through our Library Privilege Service. Under this service, we supply single copies of unpublished works or partial copies of published works for non-commercial research or private study.

UK copyright legislation allows the library to provide copies of material which are for the purposes of research for a non-commercial purpose or private study. These copies are made by a librarian on behalf of the end user, meaning that all responsibility for making those copies resides with the end user. 

We are able to provide the following quantities:

  • For published material, one article in any one issue of a periodical, or a reasonable proportion of any other published work.
  • For unpublished material, a single copy of the whole or part of a work (and provided the copyright owner has not prohibited the copying of the work).

Who qualifies for the Library Privilege Service?

  • The service is only available to non-commercial organisations in the UK (except in USA).
  • While there is no copyright fee, there may be a fee to cover costs of processing the requested copy.

Your obligations when using the Library Privilege Service

  • The requestor must complete a declaration form, stating that the document is to be used for a non-commercial research purpose or for private study.
  • Note, the declaration forms are different for published and unpublished works.
  • The ordering party must collect and keep the declaration forms for 6 years, which we may audit as required. This copy can be kept electronically.
  • If a copy is required for a use other than non-commercial research purpose or private study or the user cannot comply with the copyright restrictions then a licensed copy must be made, and a copyright fee is then payable.

We may contact our customers from time to time to ensure that they understand their obligations when using the service and are collecting declaration forms in the correct way. 

If you are a Library Privilege customer and you have not done so already, please can you can provide the contact details of an English-speaking representative at your organisation responsible for this area and who ensures service obligations are met to Customer Services Accounts.

If you have any questions about this or any other British Library service, please contact us on +44 (0) 1937 546060.

Read more information about copyright and when it applies.