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Development of document delivery by libraries in Germany since 2003

Uwe Rosemann (German National Library of Science and Technology, Hanover, Germany)
Markus Brammer (German National Library of Science and Technology, Hanover, Germany)

Interlending & Document Supply

ISSN: 0264-1615

Article publication date: 23 February 2010




This paper aims to describe the development and current situation of electronic document delivery by public libraries in Germany, taking into account the impact of the changing regulatory framework of German copyright law and the consequences of law suits against libraries and Subito.


The paper describes the current situation. Also, the new licensing strategy of the Subito delivery service and the national licensing strategy for electronic media of German libraries and the German Research foundation come into focus


The negative development of copyright law posed a new challenge for document delivery services in Germany since the statutory licence in German copyright law no longer covers electronic document delivery provided by Subito and other library document delivery services. Licence agreements with publishers or intermediaries such as copyright clearance centres are now necessary to allow delivery of electronic documents. These negotiations have proven to be very complex and controversial, but now a complicated framework of licence agreements has been concluded and will enable German libraries to generally provide electronic documents in the future. DRM‐systems, however, still are a challenge for customers and the delivery service.

Practical implications

Demand of delivery services has decreased and may decrease even more in the long run due to availability and direct accessibility of electronic documents, together with the national licensing program in Germany.


The paper provides a concise summary and gives an impression of the development of document delivery services of German libraries between 2003 and 2008 with special reference to the legal position and changes to German copyright law.



Rosemann, U. and Brammer, M. (2010), "Development of document delivery by libraries in Germany since 2003", Interlending & Document Supply, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 26-30.



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