Monday, June 27, 2022

SPARC: Pushing Back Against Confidentiality Clauses & Non-Disclosure Agreements


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has posted on its website information on how a library might push back on vendor confidentiality clauses. As SPARC notes, those confidentiality clauses, and non-disclosure agreements, help the vendor and not the library. If a library must keep the vendor contract confidential, then the vendor is under no pressure to treat every library equitably. SPARC notes that some libraries may be governed by sunshine laws, while others may reject confidentiality as a matter of policy.

If pushing back on non-disclosure agreements is of interest to you, then SPARC's information will give you thoughts about the actions you might take.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

ILL without using CONTU

Has your library moved away from using the CONTU guidelines for interlibrary loan (ILL)? 

Jimmy Carter was the U.S. President when CONTU was adopted in 1979. That may be before many who are involved in ILL - as borrowers or ILL staff - were born. Besides relying on CONTU, what else do we do exactly the same in libraries as we did in 1979? Well? So why haven't these guidelines also changed?

Yes, there are libraries that are moving away from CONTU. Here are some resources if you're interested in learning more:

Do you know of other helpful presentations or articles? If yes, please leave a comment with their details.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Copyright Office Releases Report on Women in the Copyright System

Like many others, I have signed up to receive news releases from the Copyright Office. Some are more interesting than others, and this one really caught my eye. I have bolded the text which stands out to me, which notes a lack of gender parity in those who seek to register works with the Copyright Office.

The full report is worth perusing for a number of reasons including understanding how the researchers determined the gender of copyright registrants. Their method is not full-proof, but errors would not account for the differences between the genders. 

June 9, 2022

Today, the U.S. Copyright Office is releasing a report, Women in the Copyright System: An Analysis of Women Authors in Copyright Registrations from 1978 to 2020. The report draws on work by Professor Joel Waldfogel, the Copyright Office’s 2021 Kaminstein Scholar in Residence. Professor Waldfogel recently completed a new assessment of women’s authorship in copyright registrations between 1978 and 2020, as well as women’s role in relevant copyright-based creative industries.

The report reveals that the share of registrations listing women authors has risen over time, with women representing 27.9 percent of authors of works registered in 1978 and 38.5 percent of authors of works registered in 2020. Their level of representation has increased across the board, but with significant variations among different categories of works, ranging in most cases from 20.4 percent to near parity. It is notable, however, that in nearly every category, women make up a smaller share of copyright registrants than they do of the participants in corresponding occupations.

“The Office is pleased to share this analysis of forty-two years of data on women authors and copyright registration, as well as the reference data set,” said Register of Copyrights Shira Perlmutter. “The trends revealed are encouraging, with women making considerable progress in utilizing the copyright system. At the same time, there is work to be done in reaching gender parity in most areas. As part of the Office’s commitment to ‘copyright for all,’ we look forward to continuing to collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders to develop programs responsive to this research, and further empower women to benefit from their creativity.”

In connection with the release of the Women in the Copyright Systems report, the Office is providing a reference data set in XML format. The data set contains information from roughly 20 million copyright registration records from January 1, 1978, to July 8, 2021.

More information about the report and data set can be found here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Thinking about the CDL own-to-loan ratio

I've written about controlled digital lending (CDL) before. I'm a proponent of it because I understand how it works legally and its benefits. For me this is one more way libraries are engaged in digital lending in a controlled environment. 

I received a question about CDL's own-to-loan ratio and push back received because of ebook licenses and databases which allow more more simultaneous users. How can we explain the limitations of CDL?

First, let's look at ebook and database licenses. When a library licenses a database, it negotiates for how many people it wants to be able to use the database at the same time. Depending on the database and the pricing, the number of simultaneous users may be large. For example, if the number of simultaneous users is 50 and it is not a popular database, then no one may ever get "locked out". However, if 50 people did use the database at the same time, the 51st person would receive a message that they couldn't use the database until someone else finished.

I've seen some expensive databases which libraries license with a low number of simultaneous users in order to control the cost.  In those instances, a patron may easily find themselves waiting for someone to stop using the database s they can gain entry.

Ebooks are similar in that a library doesn't license an ebook for an unlimited number of users. It may limited how many users can check out the book at the same time, with an option to increase that number for a while if the book is wildly popular.

With controlled digital lending, the own-to-loan ratio says that if I have one hardcopy, I can loan either the hardcopy or the digital copy, but not both at the same time. In addition, if someone else tries to access the digital copy, while it is already on loan, they will be blocked. The "license"is the number of copies of the book which the library legally owns. If the library want to loan more digital copies through CDL, then it needs to own more legal hardcopies of the work.

Does that analogy work for you?

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

What is a copier?

I had a wonderful conversation yesterday with someone else who does copyright training. Our conversation wandered and one of the things we touched on was basically, "what is a copier?" You know the answer. There are now many things in a library, museum, archive, or business which can create copies. And if they can create copies, then they should have some sort of copyright warning or education on/near them. 

Before you post copyright notices on everything - copiers, printers, scanners, 3D printers, audio/video duplicators - you may need to educate your colleagues and management just a little bit about the rights of the creator (Section 106) and Fair Use (Section 107), as well as the fact that posting notices protects the library because it places the burden firmly on the person (patron/user) who is making the copies [see 108(f)(1)]. Then think about how many notices you really need. Perhaps it is not one per machine but a notice over several machines that are side by side? Be willing to be creative and patient. Your library management may not see this being important or necessary. This may not be the thing you want to make or break your reputation with OR the most important thing for you to focus on.

If you do decide to place more notices around your institution, consider what they should say. The text suggested by ALA is from 1977 and is rather cryptic:

Notice: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this equipment is liable for any infringement. 

That text is not instructive or educational. It does not help anyone in determining if they are complying with fair use. It also doesn't tell a person who to ask if they have questions. What do you want to tell them? Yes, use that notice as a place to educate your users.

Here is a notice from the University of Illinois Library, which you might find inspiring. This infographic from the U.S. Copyright Office may not have enough details, but could be something to build upon.

If you have a notice that if more than the basic and you'd like to share it with others, leave a comment with its text or with a link to where the notice can be viewed online.