I am in need of paper manuals for D&D 3.5e because using digital versions and websites has proven to be problematic: websites are mostly in english so I have to translate everything in Italian (most of the people I play with don't know english). It would also be far better to have them on paper so I can scribble, highlight, take notes on them, stick post-its etc., saving bookmarks on a laptop and having 3 digital notepads (and 2-3 paper ones) open at the same time while playing isn't comfortable nor efficient.

The problem is italian manuals have been out of print for at least 8 years (maybe even 10), I looked for used copies online but they are way too expensive (haven't seen one for less than 150/200€)

Therefore I'm considering having them printed professionally on good quality paper, but I am wondering: is it illegal to do it?

  • You may be able to do so if the copying is in accordance to so-called "fair dealing" or equivalent rules. See: Library Copyright Guidance: Photocopying Library Material. Specifically, copying the whole book and giving those copies to your D&D friends would not be considered fair dealing.
    – Brandin
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 8:10

2 Answers 2


I have been digging around Italian copyright laws for the last couple of days and found two relevant articles:

Art. 68 of law 633 of 1941

There's a lot going on in this article, but the part that's relevant to the question is comma 3:

Fermo restando il divieto di riproduzione di spartiti e partiture musicali, è consentita, nei limiti del quindici per cento di ciascun volume o fascicolo di periodico, escluse le pagine di pubblicità, la riproduzione per uso personale di opere dell'ingegno effettuata mediante fotocopia, xerocopia o sistema analogo.

Which roughly translated means: you can print part of a copyrighted work at a library, as long as the part is at most 15% of it (excluding advertizing content, in case you are copying a magazine).

Article 69-bis and following of law 633/41

Covering "Orphan Works", there's a lot going on in this one too:

  1. Le biblioteche, gli istituti di istruzione e i musei, accessibili al pubblico, nonché gli archivi, gli istituti per il patrimonio cinematografico o sonoro e le emittenti di servizio pubblico hanno la facoltà di utilizzare le opere orfane di cui all'articolo 69-quater, contenute nelle loro collezioni, con le seguenti modalità: a) riproduzione dell'opera orfana ai fini di digitalizzazione, indicizzazione, catalogazione, conservazione o restauro; b) messa disposizione del pubblico dell'opera in maniera che ciascuno possa avervi accesso dal luogo e nel momento scelti individualmente.
  2. Le opere orfane possono essere utilizzate dalle organizzazioni di cui al comma 1 unicamente per scopi connessi alla loro missione di interesse pubblico, in particolare la conservazione, il restauro e la concessione dell'accesso a fini culturali e formativi di opere e fonogrammi contenuti nelle proprie collezioni.
  3. I ricavi eventualmente generati nel corso degli utilizzi di cui al comma 2 sono impiegati per coprire i costi per la digitalizzazione delle opere orfane e per la messa a disposizione del pubblico delle stesse.

Translated and abbreviated means that library, museums and schools can do more or less whatever they want with Orphan Works as long as it's coherent with the purpose of the institution. Which technically means that a library can make digital and phisical copies and even sell them (although the price should only cover the costs and not generate any profit)

The book I wanted to print is not an Orphan Work (since the authors/editors still live/exist) so printing it would be illegal, but for other books it may not be illegal under the right circumstances.



And using unauthorised digital copies is illegal too. And you can't translate them either.

This is basically the definition of copyright violation.

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