Sunday, September 22, 2013

#RSQ12: A year later

R2It has been slightly over a year since 350 people gathered in Telluride, CO for the Risk and Reward Conference (R-Squared or R2), a library conference that many hope is someday repeated.  Over the last year, the team behind R2 has mounted several videos from the conference, and they just put up this one below.  If you have heard something about the conference, and want to know more, please consider watching the videos.  Use the one below as your icebreaker.  You'll wonder what some of the activities chronicled in this video had to do with libraries, and then learn more about the connections through the other videos.

I hold dear my memories of R2 and even of the travel hassles that occurred, because they were part of the entire experience. We all overcame the problems of getting to and from Telluride in order to be a part of this experience. We came. We experienced. We have tried - and succeeded - to take what we learned back to our own parts of the library world.  Now let's continue to share what we've learned and keep the impact of R2 going! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Copyright for Information Professionals (IST 735), week 4

This week is about Fair Use and the mandatory readings are:
  • Title 17, Section 107
  • Crews. Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators. Chapters 8-11 and appendix B.
  • Should "Happy Birthday" be Protected by Copyright? (8 min. video), (As you can see, some "readings" are other things.)
This topic always creates a questions and discussions that weave in and out of the remainder of the semester, and I expect the same this year.

As I mentioned in my lecture, everything in weeks 1-3 sets the stage for now talking about the limitations (or exceptions) in the law.  Fair Use is the first limitation that we'll discuss.

I try very hard not to add mandatory readings after the semester has begin.  I learned of a paper/report /essay that Kenny Crews recently wrote and added it as another optional reading.  The paper is  Snapshots of Copyright: Pictures, Puzzles, and Ponderings from 'Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators' which is meant to be a standalone piece as well as a companion to his book. (Abstract below) This is an interesting read because Crews uses the images in his book as the fodder to talk about the copyright on pictures and other things.  I could see using this to help spark an in-class discussion on copyright (e.g., on works for hire).

Crews did not write a conclusion to his essay.  However, I find the last story about Richard Wright to be  a fitting "end".  (It is just one more of the snapshots that he presents.)  Here we are reminded that even after death, the copyright on your works remains and that litigation can still occur.  As I read about Wright, I am also reminded that copyright can be complex.   He was an American, who moved to France and continued his writing career in France. He then should have held copyrights in at least two countries; a complexity that I doubt his estate appreciated.  Copyright...a simple right that can be quite complicated.

Crews, Kenneth (August 2013). Snapshots of Copyright: Pictures, Puzzles, and Ponderings from 'Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators'
Abstract:  The recent third edition of the book Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators includes photographs to enhance the exploration of relevant copyright principles. This essay goes beyond brief principles and captions to tell the more detailed stories behind the pictures and to pose challenges and legal conundrums. This essay is a useful supplement to the book, but it is also written to stand alone as a learning tool for exploring copyright concepts (all photographs are included). Photograph subjects include: Oscar Wilde, petroglyphs, Navajo Supreme Court, Munich Lions, 1964 World’s Fair, Empire State Building, Obama Poster, Bibliotheque nationale, WIPO headquarters, Beatles music, and the grave of Richard Wright.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Copyright for Information Professionals (IST 735), week 3

Each week, there are mandatory readings and those that are - in some way - optional.  The mandatory readings for this week are:
Yes, we're discussing orphan works.

With the changes in copyright law in the United States, there are works whose copyright status is unknown.  In addition, there are works where the copyright owner cannot be found.  When both of those conditions exist in the same work the problem seems insurmountable. Rather than ignoring works that seem to be in limbo, we need to learn how to work with what we know. In doing that, it is important to have a firm grounding in the law.  For example, sections 107 and 108 can provide circumstances where orphan works can be used without seeking permission.   

The Copyright Office has studied this problem and there have been attempts at defining a process that could become law.  Those that deal with orphan works do not want the process to onerous, and some proposed processes have been just that.  If we can come to an easy to implement solution, that all parties agree on, then I hope it will become law.

By the way, I know that the phrase is "orphan works", but I often say "orphaned works".  I'm betting that I'm not the only one who does that!

Copyright for Information Professionals (IST 735), weeks 1 & 2

This fall, I am going to blog about my copyright class.

As I have for several years, I'm teaching a graduate course on copyright this fall, Copyright for Information Professionals (IST 735). The course titles includes the words "information professionals" in order to distinguish it from other copyright classes on campus. Indeed mine is focused primarily on how copyright affects libraries and education, with deviations to other areas during our discussions. The class is online, which I like for this topic. It gives everyone a chance to reflect - and do research - before speaking, which is important when dealing with the law.

The required textbook for the class is:
  • Kenneth D. Crews, Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators: Creative Strategies and Practical Solutions (3rd revised edition ed.). ISBN 978-0838910924. 
The students are also reading large portions of:
  • Copyright Law of the United States and Related Laws Contained in Tıtle 17 of the United States Code (Circular 92), October 2009, online in its entirety at
  •  Edward Samuels.  The Illustrated Story of Copyright.  Thomas Dunne Books,
    December 2000, online in its entirety at (This is in an odd online format, which limits how much I assign. I do suggest that students find a copy through interlibrary loan, since there are likely additional sections they would find useful.)
  • Peter Hirtle, Emily Hudson and Andrew Kenyon.  Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums.  Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009.  Online in its entirety at
The mandatory readings for the first two weeks in the semester were:
You will notice that the readings for weeks 1 and 2 are basic.  In these weeks, I'm setting the stage for the sections of the law that will follow.  I tell them that they must understand the basics or they will not understand, for example, section 108.   And I do ask them to learn what is really in the law, rather than relying on what they think is in the law.

Thus far, the online discussion has been lively, including some side discussions on things like the copyright of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches.  A few of the questions have had me digging further into the law and reading new-to-me sections on recordings.  This proves that there is always more to learn!