Backup copies: Section 108

Short version: you do not have the right to make a copy of any media item without permission. A media copy is sold for the life of the copy. However....

It is generally agreed that an "emergency" copy of an item can be made if it is needed. This might occur, for example, if two different classes needed a copy of a CD for testing purposes at the same time on the same day. If a recurrence of this event is foreseeable, though, a duplicate item should be purchased or permission obtained for the duplication from the rights holder.

The exceptions to the law against copying are outlined in Section 108 of Title 17 apply specifically to libraries and archives and are meant to further "study, scholarship, or research." The library or archive must be either open to the public or open to all researchers in the revelevant field, not just those affiliated with that particular institution. That tends to rule out language labs and teaching collections of materials, which are usually assembled for the use of faculty and students at the home institution.

All the same, it's interesting to examine the circumstances under which librarians can make and circulate a copy. A libray can make:

The provisions against circulation of a digital copy are clearly to prevent further duplication. It is not clear, however, whether "digital" includes digital materials fixed on a CD or DVD, i.e., less easily copied.

All copies should include clear notice of copyright.

The Copyright Advisory Network Section 108 Spinner is helpful in reviewing these rights.