All about fair use

Due to the difference between print and digital works, the ways that libraries can used to provide access of them for the patrons are very different. I think the most important topic in this field is the fair use. What is fair use of the digital works? It is more complicated than the fair use of print ones, because digital works are ” typically licensed, not sold, to libraries and consumers.” Since digital works are licensed, librarians need to negotiate and fight for the best services that they can get from publishers. Then they can provide the services to the patrons. Another reason I think that cause the complicatedness is the characteristics of the digital work itself. Patrons can easily get ebooks and audiobooks remotely from home or other place that has internet access. Digital materials are easy to be downloaded and copied. The more that libraries or patrons can do on digital works, the more complicated the fair use is.

How important are institutions like DPLA and HathiTrust in the struggle to transfer the benefits of fair use to digital libraries?

I think what DPLA has done to remove the barriers to e-lending can best benefits the digital libraries and patrons. As DPLA exploring the problems of e-lending, they can help clarify more about what is fair use to the digital libraries. Moreover, like Dan Cohen said in his interview, “DPLA can explore alternative licensing models for new works with authors and publishers.” Once there are licensing models developed, the definition of fair use to different kind of digital works will be clear. I believe that the negotiation between eresource librarians and publisher will also be easier then.

Finally, I think what Dan Cohen said in his interview best translate the mission of DPLA in this field. That is, “to democratize access” to our common cultural heritage, and to make digital collections available in ways that can transform the way we research and learn. Also, I agree with  John Palfrey that “If there must be a winner of any kind, it ought to be the reading public.” I believe this is the purpose of the negotiations between publishers and librarians now.


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