Tuesday, February 28, 2023

eCourse: U.S. Copyright Law in the Library: A Beginner's Guide, April 17-May 28

I'm pleased to again be offering a six-week online course in copyright law for library staff. The course is being given through ALA and will run from April 17 to May 28. Registration for this spring 2023 course is open at https://elearning.ala.org/local/catalog/view/product.php?productid=306 Information about the course is below and at the link above.

Whenever I teach copyright, I always update the material. Besides those updates, I'm looking forward to encouraging participants to form their own communities that are focused on understanding and applying copyright law.  As with everything else in life, being part of a community is always helpful!

The library is a hub of content, all of it subject to copyright law. The legal reality of copyright is dynamic—changes in technology have created a landscape that is constantly adapting and can be difficult to predict. If you don't have any formal training in copyright law, it can be intimidating to know how to answer your patrons' copyright questions and to know what you can and cannot do with your library’s content and resources. It can be tough to understand the line between providing information and answering a legal question.

In this eCourse, consultant, speaker, writer, and educator Jill Hurst-Wahl guides you through the basics of copyright law and provides you with the foundation to become your library's copyright expert.

Each week, you'll learn how copyright law informs what libraries, library staff, and patrons can do with their materials and how you can stay up-to-date as this area evolves. You'll be able to check and affirm your knowledge through focused self-assessments.

After participating in this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the basics of copyright law
  • Evaluate whether or not a work is copyrightable
  • Determine if a work is still under copyright protection
  • Appraise whether a work can be used under Fair Use
  • Understand how to locate additional information on U.S. Copyright Law
  • Assist a member of the community or library staff in understanding the real meaning of Fair Use

If you have questions or requests regarding accessibility, contact us at ce@ala.org or at 312-280-5100.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Article: Librarians Are Finding Thousands Of Books No Longer Protected By Copyright Law

 This is a fascinating article, so read it all and the details matter. As a teaser:

According to Greg Cram, associate general counsel and director of information policy at [New York Public Library], an initial overview of books published in that period shows that around 65 to 75 percent of rights holders opted not to renew their copyrights. 

If this project can get a firm handle on what from 1923 and 1964 is in the public domain, that will benefit all of us. A flood of new works would enter the public domain. Imagine the history and literature that would instantly be available. The result would be fantastic!

Vermont State University to move to a digital-only library

Academic libraries are becoming places that contain many different things to support the academic life of the campus, and that means books need to be moved. Many academic libraries are moving physical books out of their open stacks, placing those books in closed stacks, and then often delivering materials digitally to students and faculty upon request.  So the move to digital is happening. That means the news from Vermont State University should not be a surprise.

Vermont State University seems to moving to digital as a way of cutting costs (i.e., financial sustainability).  As this article states, this move:

...involves eliminating all physical resources in the university’s libraries and transitioning to a digital-only library. Books, collections and other materials are set to be redistributed, in part to community members, according to an FAQ published by the university

The FAQ states:

This was a data-driven decision. The libraries of Vermont State University have seen year-over-year declines in circulation of physical materials. We also met with and surveyed students. What we heard was that students need and want access to library resources where they are, whether on or off campus. Students also want to see physical libraries repurposed to better suit their needs.

Sadly, I suspect that all of the works the academic programs need will not be available in digital format. I wonder how VSU will handle that?

Question: As you digitize materials and license more digital assets, is a digital-only library in your future? If that is a possibility, are you preparing your leadership, staff, and patrons for the transition?  Have you spent time envisioning what a digital-only library might be like, perhaps as a way of thinking about the "distant" future? If yes, how is that informing what you're doing today?

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Feb. 7 webinar: Copyright and Fair Use in Academic Libraries

Jill Hurst-Wahl
On Feb. 7, I'm giving a copyright webinar for Lyrasis. Details are below and registration is still open.

Ahead of the webinar, Lyrasis has written an instructor spotlight about me, which I hope helps folks understand ta bit about me and why I love talking about copyright.

Feb. 7, 2023, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. ET: Copyright and Fair Use in Academic Libraries. Webinar for LYRASIS. 

While U.S. copyright law changes slowly, what does change is how we think about the application of that law to situations in our libraries. This webinar will use common scenarios to discuss the application of fair use in academic libraries, including digital lending in a controlled environment (a.k.a. CDL), the use of digital resources, interacting with students and faculty on fair use in photocopying, and much more. Basic copyright information will be provided, so that everyone enters the scenarios with similar knowledge. There will be time for participant questions throughout.

This webinar will use interactive components to allow participants to apply what they are learning to their own situations.