I have seen an book Chemistry Essential for Dummies on web which says that

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act

Is it legal to download this book under the sections 107 or 108 of the Copyright Law?.I couldn't understand the sections since it's too lengthy and hard to interpret.Could anyone explain it in simple words.


Section 108(a) is the most useful for an infringer who posts an entire copy of a protected work in public. Subsections(b,c) require that the copy not be made available outside the premises, which precludes internet posting; (d) requires a user request to make a copy; (e) applies only to items that are off the market and transferred to a specific user; (h) allows more copying in the last 20 years of the period when a work is protected (not applicable here). Subsection (a) allows a library or archive to make one copy of a work, as long as there is no commercial advantage to making the copy, the library is relatively public (it might restrict access to bona fide researchers), and a copyright notice is included: this has the fewest restrictions on copying.

The internet downloader is not a library or an archive, so the downloader is not granted any permission under 108 to make a copy. Under 108(a) a library can make no more than one copy available, but every uploading or downloading is "making a copy". A library would be contributorily liable for the illegal downloadings of their "customers".

It is difficult to know exactly what one can get away with under 17 USC 107 a.k.a. "fair use". I am fairly sure that posting a copy of a contemporary book in the open is not "fair use" even if the intent is to make it possible for dummies to study chemistry: such copying is not at all transformative, totally unlimited, and provides a significant market substitute for the protected work.

  • :Could you tell whether downloading books from internet archive is legal? – justin Apr 19 '16 at 6:29
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    Yes and no. They do have a number of legal downloads where you can look for particular books. However, they also copy everything on the internet, so if there is a web page that has ever illegally posted a book, there is a good chance that it is there, if you know the URL. I verified that just now. – user6726 Apr 19 '16 at 14:38
  • :Yeah that's very right.I think there should be a group to stop this illegal copying in internet archive isn't it? – justin Apr 20 '16 at 6:16
  • :Does crawling this website violates U.S copyright laws? – justin May 2 '16 at 7:10
  • I don't know what you mean by "crawling". Let's say the application is "printing a copy of the document". Doing so is a violation iff there is no permission. I would interpret the author's actions as granting permission. He certainly could have been clearer why he put that stuff out there. – user6726 May 2 '16 at 14:24

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