In which I discuss the legal issues raised by MOOCs and by the digital transition (an interview I gave to the good folks at Dartmouth)
Trade agreements that deal with copyright are all the rage. So far they’re mostly used as a way to avoid transparent, democratic processes while ratcheting up protection and locking in the worst aspects of US law. In these comments, LCA suggests the US change its approach and instead look to export user-friendly policies like the recent White House open access order, while eschewing efforts to harmonize our laws with the more draconian laws of Europe. The comments are brief and worth a quick read for anyone interested in the risks that these agreements pose to libraries.
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) filed a friend of the court brief today in support of Georgia State University in the appeal of Cambridge U. Press et al. v. Mark P. Becker et al. In its brief, LCA argues that GSU’s e-reserves policy is consistent with widespread and well-established best practices for fair use at academic and research libraries, and that these uses have no negative effects on scholarship. LCA is represented by Jonathan Band and attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The case is on appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
The case began in 2008 when Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publishers sued GSU for alleged copyright infringement. The publishers argued that GSU’s use of excerpts from copyright-protected materials in password-protected course e-reserves and class sites was a violation of the copyright law. Notably, the Association of American Publishers and the Copyright Clearance Center, the licensing arm for much of the academic publishing industry, organized and funded the lawsuit.
In May 2012, Judge Orinda Evans of the U.S. District Court in Atlanta ruled in favor of the university in a lengthy decision that reviewed each of 75 alleged infringements, finding only 5 infringing uses. In her ruling, the Judge saw little evidence of market harm to the publishers, and clearly understood that current teaching practices were beneficial to teachers and students, as well as being reasonable and fair. Because of GSU’s overwhelming victory, and the publishers’ aggressive litigation strategy, Judge Evans ordered the publishers to pay GSU’s attorneys’ fees and costs (nearly $3 million), an important ruling that could help discourage future aggressive lawsuits against good faith fair users.
Now that the issues are narrowed and clarified on appeal, LCA is one of several groups filing on the side of GSU in a striking show of solidarity across the academic community. The American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, and the American Association of University Professors, among others, are all represented in briefs defending the fair use rights of faculty, students, and librarians.
|—||India gets its GSU. The academic protection racket is spreading. Copyright organisation asks colleges to buy licence to photocopy book portions - The Economic Times|
|—||Pat Aufderheide, responding to Andy Baio’s widely-circulated presentation “The New Prohibition,” in her blog post Fair Use Fearmongering, from Friends?|
Just finished a discussion with my co-workers regarding The Slow Death of the American Author in which we talked about what we agreed and disagreed about the piece.
E-books are not going away. Authors, publishers, and libraries are dealing with this, some are doing better than others. What I’m realizing that authors/publishers arn’t getting is that for the past 2+ years public librarians have been teaching people around America how to use their e-readers so they could buy your e-books.
Do they realize this? Because I’ve been doing it as a free services since becoming a public librarian. People come to me every day because they don’t know how to use their Kindle/Nook/I-pad, and I teach them FOR FREE. I don’t get a cut from the author or the publisher even though I am enabling them to buy books from them. Seriously, I even show them where to put their credit card information.
Yes, I also show them how to download free library books but I can honestly say that most people come to me because Amazon/Banes & Noble/Apple/Scott Turow did not personally take the time to teach them how to use their product. Some of these companies do offer classes and tutorials but for some reason they prefer coming to me, a public librarian willing to do it for free. You’re welcome!
As if to prove our point….
OCLC has posted video of the panel I moderated recently at their wonderful conference in Philadelphia:
MOOCs and Libraries: Copyright, Licensing, Open Access (by OCLCResearch).
I was told that all of my panelists had to have names that begin with K, but luckily three of the smartest library copyright lawyers around meet that criterion. Whew!
Talk about an accidental grand bargain! Kill net neutrality and kill copyright enforcement online, too. Somehow I think Harold is right - that’s not a bargain the NN-haters mean to make.
Authors Guild president Scott Turow in his New York Times editorial last Sunday, which many in the publishing world have criticized for its negativity and defensiveness.
He claims to be looking out for the financial and creative interests of new and midlist authors, and yet, as I myself have pointed out, he fails to acknowledge how invested the American public library system is in launching writing careers. (First novels are always a draw for collection development librarians, and I market them aggressively.)
Turow is, how do you say, desperately out of touch with the opportunities of the digital age. Sad.
Wildly out of touch—and out of touch with the opportunities of the analog age? What does he think libraries have been up to all this time?