Fighting for Fair Use

In deciding what to digitize for your digital library collection, certain questions need to be asked about the item.  Is it still under copyright?  If it is under copyright, what is the likelihood that the library will be sued for digitizing the item?  Is the risk of being sued worth the benefit of the digitizing the item?  As a result, deciding what items to digitize involves a lot of risk management and many smaller libraries, who lack the funding to fight or even settle a lawsuit simply will decide to forgo digitization of an item altogether because it may be too risky. For this reason, as many of my classmates have already pointed out, it is important for organizations like DPLA and Hathitrust to fight copyright issues.  They have the financial backing and support that many small libraries are lacking.  If these organizations challenge copyright laws and fight for fair use, then libraries can offer what our patrons are looking and asking for.

One thing that patrons seem to be increasingly asking for is eBooks.  Libraries are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to eBook licenses and some of the terms of those licenses seem to go against the services the library is trying to provide.  The Palfrey article pointed out ways that the DPLA is trying to help with e-lending, like digitizing public domain works and trying to find legal ways to deal with the copyright issues, but he also pointed out that we cannot simply rely on DPLA and other organizations to fight the issue. “Those of us who care about libraries need to link arms in order to push back on trends in the law and technology that favor restrictions on access, rather than increased access, in a digital age.”  So while it is important and necessary for big organizations like DPLA to push the boundaries of copyright laws and take on the big lawsuits for the benefit of all libraries, it is also important for all libraries to join together and collectively work towards gaining better access to digital works for our patrons and for fair use.

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2 responses to “Fighting for Fair Use

  1. Well said klk30.Certainly larger organizations such as the DPLA and HathiTrust have the ability to lead lead a movement toward a positive change in the Copyright Act, but the responsibility should not be soley theirs alone. The willingness of any and all libraries to step up to the challenges brought by current legislative practice is also necessary.

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