May 23, 2022

Project Report: “Takedown and Today’s Academic Digital Library”


Berkeley Digital Library Copyright Project Report: Takedown and Today’s Academic Digital Library


Brianna L. Schofield
University of California, Berkeley – School of Law

Jennifer M. Urban
University of California, Berkeley – School of Law


UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2694731 (via SSRN)
November 2015


Fueled by recent public and private efforts to improve access to scholarly works, academic libraries and archives are increasingly digitizing their special collections and creating online repositories for scholarly works. This enhanced online presence has increased libraries’ exposure to takedown requests from rightsholders and other concerned parties. Using survey questions and interviews, we examined academic libraries’ interaction with both Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) and non-DMCA takedown notices. We found that academic libraries most commonly receive non-DMCA takedown requests that are based on non-copyright issues (such as privacy) or that target materials the library itself has placed online.

In general, libraries have well-developed norms and practices in place to manage these types of requests to remove material. We also found, however, that formal DMCA notices directed to libraries have historically been rare, but that this may be changing as open access repositories hosted by libraries grow. In tracing the recent experience of academic libraries that have received DMCA takedown notices targeting material in their open access repositories, we found that libraries have not yet developed norms and practices for addressing these requests.

We discuss why this might be, and suggest steps libraries, publishers, and authors can take to best manage copyright conflicts while supporting libraries’ missions to preserve and provide access to knowledge.

Direct to Full Text (22 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.