Question #1: How important are institutions like DPLA and HathiTrust in the struggle to transfer the benefits of fair use to digital libraries?
HathiTrust and the DPLA are giants in the world of digital libraries. Both have influential partnerships and are obviously trying to work within the letter of the law. By partnering with large public and academic institutions, any lawsuits or issues would have far reaching implications and may incur more public ire than if publishers/copyright holders went after small fry. By starting with items in the public domain, HathiTrust and DPLA can prove their worth, show any changes in sales for items that they have made available and potentially assuage the fear that is driving the publishers. By proving their worth and showing downstream effects, we may have a better chance of transferring the benefits of fair use to digital libraries.
Another way that the DPLA and HathiTrust can help is by looking to international models that have succeeded in working with publishers to allow the lending of more current materials. By working with a single publisher, the after-effects would be known rather than projected, which may help or hinder, but without trying, we’ll never know.
Question #4: Should the DPLA even bother adhering to copyright law?
Of course. By breaking the law rather than attempting to change it, the DPLA could bring about lawsuits. And if the DPLA was seen as intentionally breaking the law, they may lose the case thereby setting a dangerous precedent for smaller libraries. It’s a big responsibility, but the DPLA needs to make change from within the law rather than pushing it beyond the breaking point.
#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?
All I want to do is listen to my iTunes library on my zune. Just kidding, but really. I bought it, if I want to listen to it from another device, that should be my prerogative. The same for books. I love my Kindle, and I love having the Kindle app on my iPad, but I think that once I purchase digital content, it should be mine to make available for my personal use on whatever device I can think of. I get it, though, if I bought a blue-ray and burned a DVD from it, I can see how that’s not quite right… but still… it’s a new world, we expect everything to be available to us at all times, and I bought that music fair and square.