Wednesday, April 29, 2020

NWU: What is the Internet Archive doing with our books? (webinar)

The National Writers Union (NWU) is presenting an informational webinar on the Internet Archives book scanning operation  on May 5 (Tuesday) at 10:00 a.m. ET.  Registration information is available on the NWU website.

The NWU says:
We've been getting questions about what the Internet Archive is actually doing with the millions of books it has been scanning.

Unfortunately, "Controlled Digital Lending" (CDL) and the new "National Emergency Library" (NEL) are only the tip of the iceberg. The Internet Archive distributes copies of each book it scans in *five* different ways.

The confusion is understandable, given that what the Internet Archive is doing doesn't match what it says it does as CDL or the NEL.
They have also posted an explainer on their website, regarding what is happening. Slides from their April 27 informational webinar are also available.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Creating a copyright policy for your library

One of the questions asked during the April 17 copyright webinar was on creating a copyright policy for an institution or library.   This is an assignment in my copyright class (IST 735: Copyright for Information Professionals).  I want to use that assignment as a way of talking with you about creating a policy.

First, consider why you want to create a policy and who - or what - is the policy for.  Every policy is going to be specific to the organization that created it. Each will be different. Knowing the reason for creating the policy will be important.

After you have done that, you might consider if you want to create a policy or perhaps an FAQ.  A policy can require time to develop and may need to go through an approval process. It could be that in your situation that an FAQ would suit your needs.  In other words, you need to create what is best for your institution and situation. (What is below may help you in thinking about that FAQ.)

Knowing that every policy is different, I have my students create a policy in a specific format, which makes them consider a number of different things and situate the policy in the activities of a specific library.  They must include the sections below, but they also know that a library or institution could create a policy with a different format and with different sections.

In other words, what is below is for an assignment. The sections you might put into your policy will likely be different.

Section of the Policy

  • Name and location of the library.
  • Mission of the library. The policy should relate - implicitly or explicitly - to this mission. 
  • Purpose of the policy.  In other words, why is this policy being put in place?
  • An overview of the relevant sections of copyright law, which affect this library. Include URLs/links to the documents or sections to which you refer.  This is good background information, because many people do not know copyright law and might use this to learn more.  It also demonstrates that your policy is grounded in the law.
  • What general rules does the library use in order to comply with the law and with any licenses?
    • Consider if there are general rules for staff, as well as general rules which might exist for users/patrons.
    • Consider if there are general rules for specific activities that are engaged in inside the library or through its online portals.
  • What specific are used by staff when copying material for (whichever of the following are applicable): 
    • For a patron’s personal use 
    • For delivery of teaching and learning (in classroom or distance learning) 
    • For research purposes 
    • For library internal purposes 
    • For people with disabilities
  • Advice – for users and staff – on seeking copyright clearance 
  • A disclaimer
  • Who to contact about copyright matters. This could be a person's title, rather than a name.
  • An FAQ (frequently asked questions). 
  • Other sections at your discretion
I imagine that you're looking at that and thinking that it is longer than you want. Copyright policies do come in a variety of different lengths, depending on the need and the organization.  In real life, you do what fits you. Again, what is above is for an assignment.

Any policy - or FAQ, if you go that route - should be reviewed by the library director and anybody else who has fiduciary responsibility.  In some organizations, the attorney or legal department may need to review new policies.  Take those as opportunities to assure that everyone understands what you have written.

Once approved, please put your policy on your website and then review it for revisions on a regular basis. For example, some libraries review their policies every three years and make any changes that are warranted.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Webinar Recording: Free Webinar (April 17): Libraries and COVID-19: Considering Copyright during a Crisis, Part 2

American Libraries Live
On April 17, American Libraries Live hosted a webinar on "Libraries and COVID-19:  Considering Copyright during a Crisis, part 2." Details are in this blog post. The 60-minute recording is now available for anyone to view. Resources shared in chat, during the webinar, are available in this document. The slides used during the webinar are also available.

Links to the recording, etc., from part 1 are in this blog post.

Thank you to the 1700+ people who participated in these and for prompting the discussion. Thank you to Lesley Ellen Harris and Kenneth Crews for their wisdom.  It was awesome being on the panel with you!

The National Emergency Library

Because of the number of people still discussing this, I want to do a long blog post on it.  I hope this answers some of the questions you have.  Please feel free to leave comments, if you have questions that are not covered here.

In my course (IST 735: Copyright for Information Professionals) lecture about the National Emergency Library, I'm using several quotes from the Internet Archive and from the Controlled Digital Lending websites.  Below are the  quotes, which I hope will help to education you on this topic. At the very bottom of this post are my comments.

WAIT...STOP: I know you're going to skim the quotes, but don't. Read the quotes. Then consider reading the documents in the list below. Why? Because the details matter.  Undoubtedly you will question something and say "but they are doing...", and not realize that they have addressed your concern. So read before you applaud, criticize, or question.

Readings for this class lecture


Quotes from FAQ for the National Emergency Library

  • Our digital library is free to read for anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.
  • The library will have suspended waitlists through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.  
  • According to UNESCO,  the COVID-19 crisis has shuttered the classrooms for one-in-five  students worldwide, plus an additional one-in-four from higher education  classes. And that number is growing, quickly approaching 1 billion students physically cut off from classrooms, teachers and libraries.Our focus is providing online access to older books that don’t have an ebook.
  • Readers who borrow a book from the National Emergency Library get it for only two weeks, and their access is disabled unless they check it out again. Internet Archive also uses the same technical protections that publishers use on their ebook offerings in order to prevent additional copies from being made or redistributed.
  • The Internet Archive has partnered with ISKME and an expert group of educators and school librarians to develop the Universal School Library, a curated list of 2,300 books organized by reading level and grade. 
And also from the Internet Archive FAQ: Is this controlled digital lending?
    No. It is close to controlled digital lending but is significantly different while waitlists are suspended. This library is being mobilized in response to a global pandemic and US national emergency. It shares aspects of controlled digital lending by controlling the physical book that was scanned and the redistribution of files through digital rights management software, but differs by having no waitlists for users borrowing books.  Once the US national emergency is over and waitlists are back to their normal capacity, the service will return to full controlled digital lending. 


So what is Controlled Digital Lending? (from the CDL website)

  • …a method by which libraries loan print books to digital patrons in a “lend like print” fashion similar to how non-digital patrons check out books in-person. Through CDL, libraries use technical controls to ensure a consistent “owned-to-loaned” ratio, meaning the library circulates the exact number of copies of a specific title it owns, regardless of format, putting controls in place to prevent users from redistributing or copying the digitized version.
  • CDL isn’t itself a silver bullet for mass digital access to books. It’s not meant to be a competitor to Overdrive, nor a replacement for licensing e-books of best-sellers or other currently licensable e-book content. But we think CDL does deserve significant attention as a legal strategy, particularly to help address access to the large number of books published in the “20th Century black hole” that have little hope of otherwise bring made available to readers online.


What does owned to loaned ratio really mean?

For example, if a library owns three copies of a title and digitizes one copy, it may use CDL to circulate one digital copy and two print, or three digital copies, or two digital copies and one print; in all cases, it could only circulate the same number of copies that it owned before digitization.
Then the CDL websites discusses:
  • The Principle of Exhaustion and the Fair Use Doctrine 
  • First Sale and the Common Law Exhaustion Principle


First Sale and the Common Law Exhaustion Principle

This legal set of rules mandates that any time there is an authorized transfer of a copy of a copyrighted work, the rights holder’s power to control the use and distribution of that copy is terminated or ‘exhausted.’ Exhaustion allows the owner of a particular copy of a work to sell, lend, or give away that copy without payment to or permission from the rights holder. Among other important benefits, exhaustion ensures that after copyright holders price and control the initial distribution of their works, secondary outlets (such as libraries) and markets (such as used bookstores) can expand the affordability, preservation, and availability of works. Library CDL approaches that track the principle of exhaustion are thus much more likely to fall within its protections.


Fair Use

Other socially beneficial purposes, such as increasing public access to works, may also qualify for fair use. Library CDL approaches that are designed for socially beneficial purposes are much more likely to fall within the protections of fair use.
The CDL website provides information on how the four factors might be applied.  I've summarized them in this table, but there is a MUCH longer - and important - explanation on the website.

In order to properly position CDL within the analysis above, proponents say that libraries should:
  1. ensure that original works are acquired lawfully;
  2. apply CDL only to works that are owned and not licensed;
  3. limit the total number of copies in any format in circulation at any time to the number of physical copies the library lawfully owns (maintain an “owned to loaned” ratio);
  4. lend each digital version only to a single user at a time just as a physical copy would be loaned;
  5. limit the time period for each lend to one that is analogous to physical lending; and
  6. use digital rights management to prevent copying and redistribution.


Finally, Kyle Courtney in Controlled Digital Lending Concept Gains Ground said:

This is how things start. You put out a position statement, you back it up with a white paper, and you see the conversations that happen.


There are many articles critical of the National Emergency Library, including:

My Thoughts

The details of this matter, which is why I have encouraged you to read the quotes and other information.  The Internet Archive has laid out and documented a plan, including how they are relying on Fair Use.  Notice that they have not thrown the doors open on all of their content, but have constructed a specific library for a specific population under specific circumstances.

The Internet Archive is exercising Fair Use. We know that we should exercise Fair Use and push on what we perceive the boundaries are. If we don't use Fair Use, then we may lose it. Not using Fair Use could cause its boundaries to shrink.  It is when we push on Fair Use that we are able to get people to consider what is possible, and positive changes can happen.  Think of the pushing on Fair Use which Google has done (e.g., Google Book Search, Perfect 10 v. Google).  Think of the work that HathiTrust has done.  Yes, there was push back. Yes, there was some re-thinking. And while it took years, there came a time when how we thought about that activity changed and we saw it as normal.

It is too early to know the final disposition of this National Emergency Library will be.  It is unlikely, during this national emergency, that authors and publishers will make a formal move against it. That could be seen as bad public relations. Therefore, let's wait to see what happens after the emergency has ended. What do the authors and publishers say (and do) then?

If this national emergency extends longer than we all hope, I would be interested in seeing what the Internet Archive does then.  Does it continue with the National Emergency Library as it is now? And what about the authors and publishers? Will they raise legal challenges?

Remember that the final arbiter in determining if a use is legal is a court.

Finally, I hope this is an opportunity for more people to really learn about Fair Use, which means reading the law, reading commentary and articles on the law, and practicing using the four factors.  I also hope that more librarians will learn about Controlled Digital Lending, by reading what has been published about it. This could be something that more libraries would like to implement, if they understood what it was.

Addendum (4/20 afternoon):

These resources were forwarded to me and they are from the National Writers Union.

Addendum (June 12):

Kahle, Brewster. (June 10, 2020) Temporary National Emergency Library to close 2 weeks early, returning to traditional controlled digital lending.
Today we are announcing the National Emergency Library will close on June 16th, rather than June 30th, returning to traditional controlled digital lending. We have learned that the vast majority of people use digitized books on the Internet Archive for a very short time. Even with the closure of the NEL, we will be able to serve most patrons through controlled digital lending, in part because of the good work of the non-profit HathiTrust Digital Library. HathiTrust’s new Emergency Temporary Access Service features a short-term access model that we plan to follow.

We moved up our schedule because, last Monday, four commercial publishers chose to sue Internet Archive during a global pandemic.  However, this lawsuit is not just about the temporary National Emergency Library. The complaint attacks the concept of any library owning and lending digital books, challenging the very idea of what a library is in the digital world. This lawsuit stands in contrast to some academic publishers who initially expressed concerns about the NEL, but ultimately decided to work with us to provide access to people cut off from their physical schools and libraries. We hope that similar cooperation is possible here, and the publishers call off their costly assault.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Free Webinar (April 17): Libraries and COVID-19: Considering Copyright During a Crisis, Part 2

Yes, after a successful webinar on April 3, we were asked to do it again!  Part 2 will be held on April 17, 12 noon ET (one hour).  The first 1500 people will be able to register (free), with the live event limited to the first 1000.  The April 3 event had over 900 people, so this is clearly a needed topic.

Yes, the recording will be available afterwards.

Details from AL Live:

On April 3, we addressed several copyright issues on AL Live. We received so many audience questions and comments that our expert panel is back for a second session, where we’ll continue the discussion of how libraries can address these challenges. We’ll also share practical tips and information about which digital content providers have loosened restrictions on their materials during this pandemic.
Panelists include:
  • Lesley Ellen Harris, CEO of
  • Jill Hurst-Wahl, associate professor of practice, Syracuse University School of Information Studies, and president of Hurst Associates Ltd.
  • Kenneth D. Crews, attorney, Gipson Hoffman & Pancione, and international copyright consultant

What is a library? In a post-COVID world, how will they change?

Vancouver BC Public Library
It is now over 30 days since I've been "social distancing." This has radically changed my world and how I think about interacting with others. And for some libraries, they have also been closed 30 days (or more) as part of the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Many libraries and libraries systems have:
  • Shifted their offerings to online spaces, including holding storytime, book clubs, etc., in online formats.  
  • Libraries have licensed additional content for their communities.
  • Expanded licenses on existing content to allow for greater "at home" usage. 
  • Eliminated fines.
  • Made it easier for people to obtain library cards.
  • Shared newly free content with their communities.
  • Made greater use of social media.
What is not as visible are the changes happening behind the scenes.  COVID-19 is having an economic ripple effect, which will change the funding available for our libraries. Yes, libraries of all kinds. While libraries are demonstrating their worth, during this trying time, they will be competing with many other services for limited funding after the pandemic has subsided. This will affect everything that libraries do.

The question is: How will libraries change?
  • How will libraries define themselves?  
  • Without reliance on physical space, how will staff answer the question, 'What is a library?'
  • Will libraries continue to use online spaces for live interactions with community members, in addition to in-person activities?
  • Will more libraries go fine-free for good?
  • Will libraries focus more on access to materials outside of the library building (digital access)?
  • Will continued concerns about germs, infections, viruses, etc. limit the size of in-person group meetings and activities?
  • Will social distancing permanently change how library spaces are laid out?
  • How will staff be deployed differently, based on changes in services and changes in funding?
  • Where will staff work? Will more staff work remotely on a regular basis?
  • Will funding streams change and what will that mean for library services?
  • What will friends groups do?  Will they still do book sales, author talks, and fundraisers?  How will these need to change?
  • How will library strategic plans, long-range plans, or five-year plans change in the wake of this? 
  • If there is a shift in library staffing, what will this mean for a library's hiring needs? (And what will that mean for thousands of people who want to go to work in a library?)
  • How will contingency and disaster plans change, due to what we've learned during the pandemic?
  • How will libraries demonstrate their worth in the months and years ahead?
Yes, so many questions and right now we have the time to think about them.  Depending on a library's fiscal year and funding cycles, it may need to answer some of those questions soon.

Lastly, IFLA has a relevant blog post, which you may want to read, entitled "Now and Next: What a Post-COVID World May Bring for Libraries." The post has ten questions which you (and your library) may want to ponder:
  1. Restrictions on movement have dramatically changed our lives – will we get back to normal?
  2. Many of our activities have ‘pivoted’ to online – will they stay there?
  3. Governments are investing billions into economies – how will they take it back?
  4. Education has been disrupted and delayed – can we limit the scarring effects?
  5. Testing, tracking and emergency powers are helping to fight the pandemic – but will governments be able to let go?
  6. It has become clear that laws and practices were not ready – will we learn the lessons?
  7. Weaknesses and incompleteness in our digital infrastructure have become clear – will we fix them?
  8. The need for global information sharing is obvious – will we make it permanent?
  9. Pollution is down and air quality up – will we learn to live greener lives?
  10. The value of culture in well-being is clear – will we continue to invest in making it a reality? 

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Webinar Recording: Free Webinar (April 3): Libraries and COVID-19: Considering Copyright during a Crisis

American Libraries Live
On April 3, American Libraries Live hosted a webinar on " Libraries and COVID-19:  Considering Copyright during a Crisis." Details are in this blog post. The 60-minute recording is now available for anyone to view. Resources shared in chat, during the webinar, are available in this document.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Webinar Recording: Intro to Online Classes 7 Tips For Doing Well

I did this 30-minute webinar for DoSpace on March 23 and they have placed the recording on YouTube.

Description: Congratulations! Your classes have now moved online. Now what are you supposed to do? What do you need to do to succeed? We will discuss 7 tips that will help you stay on track and do well in your online classes, no matter what platform your classes are using. We will also have time for Q&A, so you can have your "what do I do now" questions answered.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Free Webinar (April 3): Libraries and COVID-19: Considering Copyright during a Crisis

See below.  I'm honored to be part of this AL Live event with Lesley Ellen Harris and Kenneth Crews.

Registration for this event is limited. Please see below for more information.*

With most physical libraries around the country forced to close their doors, digital materials are more important than ever. The copyright issues involved with these materials can be difficult enough to process under normal circumstances; now they can seem even more overwhelming. Please join our expert panel as we discuss how libraries can address these challenges. We’ll also share practical tips and information about which digital content providers have loosened restrictions on their materials during this pandemic.

Our panel includes:

  • Lesley Ellen Harris, JD, is CEO of Harris is a copyright consultant, published author, copyright blogger, and educator. She is an expert in navigating current copyright issues. Her areas of concentration include US and Canadian copyright law, international copyright law, and licensing digital content.

  • Jill Hurst-Wahl is a consultant, speaker, writer, and educator. She is associate professor of practice in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and president of Hurst Associates, Ltd. A former corporate librarian, Hurst-Wahl has been an advocate for increasing the impact of libraries, no matter the type of community or organization they serve. She is a member of the USNY Technology Policy and Practices Council and the Onondaga County (N.Y.) Public Library board of trustees. Her focus includes copyright, the use of social media, and the future of the profession.

  • Kenneth D. Crews is an attorney, author, professor, and international copyright consultant. He has been a consultant to businesses, universities, and governments in many countries in all parts of the world and has received two national awards for his leadership on copyright issues. Crews’s practice centers on copyright, trademark, branding, and intellectual property law for diverse business, entertainment, and nonprofit clients. Crews works closely with clients regarding the complexities of their use and ownership of intellectual property, the strategic management of IP assets, and development programs of licenses, contracts, and policy positions. Clients include software developers, film producers, major research universities, independent authors, and publishers of books, journals, and multimedia products. Building on his academic background and diverse experiences, he has served as an expert witness in copyright litigation involving art, software, fashion design, and fair use at research universities.
*NOTE: Due to high demand, we are accepting up to 1,500 registrations for this event. Based on capacity, however, only the first 1,000 viewers to join the event will be able to attend live. We will be recording this event and will post the archive information to the American Libraries Live website as soon as it is available. We thank you for your patience. If you are unable to register, the archive information will be posted to

Tune in to this free 60-minute webcast at 1 p.m. Eastern on April 3. Don't miss out! Register now.