Concerns with digital and copyright

#1-Do you think groups like Hathitrust and DPLA will inspire other libraries to be bolder regarding digitization moving forward?

I think the DPLA has been pretty clear about its role in lobbying for favorable copyright laws.  I do think that organizations like this can develop the clout to fix things in two ways, the first being to hire good lawyers and defend and expand fair use, like Hathi Trust has done, and the second is to push content creators to understand and embrace creative commons license models whenever feasible, which in many ways, is the better solution, since to negotiate many of the deals we have to make with digital content providers leaves private enterprises dangerously in control of content.

#2- ReDigi has already said that they plan to return with “ReDigi 2.0″. What do you see as the future of first sale for digital content? Is it possible?

I’m certainly not a lawyer, but my gut instinct is that the “incidental” copy made when transffering a digital file is at odds with the spirit of the law.  Perhaps more challenging is the argument that digital files do not degrade with time as physical, but I’m also sure that speed of degradation was never a real concern for copyright up till this point… it does seem to be a big theoretical difference, but it seems like it is a spectrum, i.e. it is just as incidental that I kept my X-Men #1 pristine in Mylar as it is that my computer crashed and I lost all my files.  There must be a practical lifespan for the majority of digital files, and judging from all the MP3s I know I used to have somewhere, it is certainly not forever.

What I guess this means is that it is not inconceivable to me that there is a digital right of first sale, though to require that you sell through some third party proprietary software in order to access it seems a bit off the mark.

#3- Related t first sale, do you agree with the blog post that said we have lost a lot of ground and can that ground be retaken?

It is very hard for me to imagine a library of the future serving its purpose without either the right of first sale or the equivalent for digital works.  Palfrey says “Many uncertainties remain for the growing volume of born-digital materials.”  A stronger push for creators to use creative commons licensing models is a good first step, since libraries would avoid many of the difficulties presented by more traditional licensing models that way.  However, overall I think it is fair to expect that most content creators will continue to pursue those traditional models, and we will be stuck negotiating with third party, private enterprises for the right to perform our accepted cultural role.  And maybe “whatever gets you through the day” will work out.  Certainly, publishers also have an interest in many of the same goals as libraries.  But it is troubling to me to think that the cultural future depends on the negotiations we make today.  Remember to wear that power tie!

#4- Do you think that it should be unlawful to remove DRM from digital content if the purpose is to make the title more accessible (ie. read a kindle book on a nook)? What about moding or jail-breaking devices?

There are many smarter minds than mine working on this at the moment but it seems like moding and jailbreaking devices has nothing to do with the license of your digital materials.  The fact that the law confuses your content and the device it’s read on just speaks volume about how our elected officials know nothing about technology beyond what the lobbyists tell them.

I found Google’s warning about bricking your Google Glass if you lent it or tried to sell it very interesting in light of this course.  I had felt that the Glass was a very likely candidate for libraries to get on board with, since I perhaps naively felt that the bundles of content that Glass showed on screen must come from some aggragator, and why wouldn’t libraries choose to get involved?  Talk about a perfect way to both curate and push content!  But hearing that makes me think that this particular product is not going to be very friendly to the type of content libraries might offer.  Someone will make a HUD that can show many sources of content, so you could select the provider or feeds a la cart, and this will be a great thing for libraries.

Which is sort of tangentially connected, but barely.

And one final thought from the interview with Dan Cohen about DPLA.

“My kids adore our local library, and our extensive use of that public library has also led us to buy hundreds of electronic and printed books. I hope I’m not alone in thinking that it’s better to have a nation of voracious readers who get some of their books for free than a nation of intermittent readers who always pay.” -Dan Cohen


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