My partner in crime for this lawfully important discussion is ravynchloe. She will be adding some additional questions/thoughts to what I have here in a separate post.
The end of the analog-only era has created a lot of grey area and, at times, publishers and corporate interests have claimed much digital territory that, based on what libraries had rights to do in the analog realm, should belong to libraries.
This week’s readings had me thinking about the power and importance of big institutions like HathiTrust and DPLA that can afford to challenge copyright and licensing laws. In many ways, these organizations provide a critical voice for libraries as the legal boundaries shift around who can scan, copy, distribute, search and view works in the digital environment. The DPLA article hints at this part of their mission and the article about the Authors’ Guild vs. HathiTrust court case really makes explicit how helpful, even essential, these big, well-funded institutions are in fighting for the rights of digital libraries.
Question #1: How important are institutions like DPLA and HathiTrust in the struggle to transfer the benefits of fair use to digital libraries?
Related to that, here’s a quote from the last paragraph of the Hathi case article:
Too often, users with high, good, socially- and legally-valued purposes make the choice not to engage in a use because it is “too risky” to rely on fair use. Every time that happens, fair use shrinks and becomes more brittle.
Question #2: Do you know of any specific examples where an institution or project you’ve been involved with (or know about) might have opted not to engage in a digital use because it was too risky? What calculations were made to determine the risk was too high?
The DPLA Legal Issues Wiki (http://dp.la/wiki/Legal_Issues) includes a list of “Questions for
Discussion” that are pretty broad but perhaps we could muse about the answers to these two that I thought were especially thought provoking:
Question #3: Within the bounds of existing law, what can libraries do to digitize their collections and make at least some parts of in-copyright works publicly accessible?
Question #4: Should the DPLA even bother adhering to copyright law?
I am looking forward to this discussion.
[Brian’s pet project alert!
As a musician who frequently draws on archival recordings of traditional folk music I have often been frustrated by the barriers often put up around artifacts that I feel like should be our common cultural heritage. I’ve only just scratched the surface in my own understanding of what is required to get permission to publish a field recording of a singer recorded in, say 1924, by a folk song collector. This is something I’d also love to discuss if anyone else is interested. I’m actually working on getting appropriate permission to make my Assignment 2 collection, which is of LOC-held field recordings made in 1924, public. I think all I need is permission from a family member of the singer in this case….]