It was a seismic move in the struggle to create a workable ebook access model for the users of America’s libraries. It was engineered by Joanne (Jo) Budler, the Kansas State Librarian, when she realized that an initial proposal in 2010 to renew the Kansas State Library (KSL) contract with OverDrive would increase administrative costs by some 700 percent over the next few years, as the state ebook deal was being restructured. Despite the risk of disrupting and even losing access to ebooks for the users of Kansas libraries, Budler rejected more than one proposal from OverDrive for a new contract until a year ago when she won the right to transfer titles from OverDrive to a new platform. The dispute set off a long (and public) national examination of library service agreements.
A quick search of the Libraries’ catalog at my university shows that we have lots of books about how to talk with different groups. The target audiences for these improved conversations include children, liberals, teens, Christians, senior parents, and physicians. We even have a book (which I haven’t read) about how to talk about books [...]
When I consider the current state of American copyright law, I often think about the 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat and his “Petition from the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, Sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers, and Extinguishers, and from Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting,” usually referred to as the Candlemaker’s Petition.
Lansdowne Public Library’s “Read It” video, based on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, was originally yanked from YouTube for a copyright violation. But the story may have a happy ending: the library director told LJ that “The Lansdowne Public Library ‘Read It!’ parody is back up on YouTube and I believe that it will stay there.”
The cheering echoes still throughout librarianship. Recent court decisions—such as the HathiTrust’s win over the Authors Guild—strengthen the use of the concept of “fair use” to exempt from copyright the reproduction of material, liberate the free digitization of so-called “orphan works,” and allow free public access to the results. Yet even those cheering the loudest caution that there are still no definitive rules to apply to these victories. The victories are yet evidence of the value of well-organized efforts to prevent copyright from locking up our intellectual and cultural resources. The leaders of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), comprised of the Association of Research Libraries, the American Library Association (ALA), and the Association of College and Research Libraries (an ALA division), deserve the cheers and the continuing support of librarians.
While the verdict in the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust case has been widely hailed for its impact on how libraries can handle digitization for search, the findings on access for the print-disabled may lead to even more profound changes in practice. On an Association of Research Libraries (ARL) webcast, Daniel F. Goldstein, counsel of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), said the decision could revolutionize university services to their blind and print disabled students.
The publisher plaintiffs in the Georgia State University (GSU) ereserves copyright case deposited $ 3,271,275 into the Commercial Registry of the Court for the Northern District of Georgia to cover the attorney’s fees and costs of GSU, the prevailing party in the dispute. However, the money will be held in escrow until the appeal is decided.
The American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) today teamed up with 17 other associations, retailers, and charities to launch a new coalition called the Owners’ Rights Initiative (ORI). ORI is an “informal alliance of stakeholders” that will defend the first sale doctrine, which allows libraries to lend books and other materials, as well as individual owners to resell them.
There are two things I know about elephants. First, they have long memories. Second, they are large, ponderous beasts, and getting an elephant to move where you want it to go takes care, patience, and agility. It is that legendary memory that caused the HathiTrust to name itself with the Hindi word for an elephant. As for the second characteristic of an elephant, it came in to my mind as I listened last month to reports about Hathi and marveled at the careful and meticulous work that is being done there to make public domain works accessible to the public. The elephant that is the HathiTrust is indeed being directed with patience and agility.