Monthly Archives: September 2008

Fair Use

To teachers and librarians, the most important limitation on copyright is Fair use, as detailed in section 107 of the statute.   The use of this exemption is complicated by the fact that no one, not even the most experienced copyright attorney, can say definitively that a specific use is a “fair use.”  In each instance, the use must be evaluated against the “four factors” to determine whether the use is fair.  There are no rules or guidelines that may be applied to simplify the decision.  So what are academic professionals, committed to compliance, to do? Continue reading

New Computer

I was an “early adopter” of computer technology.  In the early 1980’s, during my professional life as a hospital financial consultant, I used a computer with a CPM operating system.  It had to be booted from 5.25 floppy disks, so it was thrilling to acquire my first external hard drive with 40 mb.  I changed careers and became a librarian just at the time that technology was completely revolutionizing the profession.  For the past quarter-century I have used dozens of computers, and explored countless varieties of instructional and productivity software.

I have at various times, been a “PC person” and a “MAC person.”

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The Importance of the Public Domain

In trying to unravel the tangled mess of current copyright legislation and policy, it occurred to me to wonder how we got here in the first place.  If copyright is working as intended, what is it supposed to accomplish?  The US Constitution provides some insight:

The Congress shall have the power to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

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Collectanea

One of the things that I am loving about being on sabbatical is the gift of time time to think reflectively.  When I am working I “think” all day long, but the daily demands of managing a dynamic program serving the needs of a diverse community require active decision making, and often preclude the luxury of unhurried contemplation.  Thanks to the sabbatical gift of time, I am able to regularly read a blog titled Collectanea, which is authored by Georgia Harper.  The post I read this morning was thoughtful, lengthy, and provided much fodder for rumination. Continue reading

All Souls’ Rising

Every week day during my sabbatical, I spend several hours reading and writing about copyright issues as they affect the Academy.  But that isn’t the only reading I do.  I am a librarian, after all, and reading is one of my great pleasures.  So today, with the hurricane destruction in Haiti in the news, I will write about an extraordinary book which I recently finished reading — All Souls’ Rising, by Madison Smartt Bell. Continue reading

A “perfect storm of bad copyright legislation”

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I recently wrote that studying copyright during my sabbatical is complicated by the fact that the legislation seems to be on shifting sand. Right on cue, hearings were held yesterday on two pieces of controversial copyright legislation. In the House, the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property considered HR 6845, the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, while in the Senate, hearings were held on S. 3325, the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008. Alex Curtis, of the advocacy group Public Knowlwdge, referred to this confluence as “a perfect storm of bad copyright legislation.”
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Electronic access to print materials

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This morning I read in the Chronicle of Higher Education that Duke University has just announced that it will offer libraries subscription access to all of Duke University Press’s printed titles in electronic form through the e-Duke Books Scholarly Program. This move continues a trend in academic libraries that we have been tracking in the OWHL for the past several years.

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