copyright

February 22-26 is Fair Use Week!

ARL-FairUseWeek-White-Logo This week marks the third annual celebration of Fair Use Weekan opportunity for libraries and other advocates to highlight the importance of fair use as a limitation to copyright law. The doctrine of fair use (or fair dealing, as it is known in some other countries) allows for the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder. It's been in the news quite a bit lately, with both the HathiTrust and Google Book Search digitization projects being determined to be fair use, but it’s a part of regular, everyday life as well. Fair use is something worth celebrating! Do you have a question about fair use, or anything else about copyright? Get in touch with me at h.corbett@neu.edu. Fair Use Week on Social Media Fair Use Infographic The Association for Research Libraries has updated their infographic about fair use from last year. The new one, Fair Use in a Day in the Life of a College Student (PDF), is specifically about college students and fair use, and it's really interesting—students encounter examples of fair use in way more places than in class...like while they're watching TV, taking a selfie, or enjoying fanfic.

February 23-27 Is Fair Use Week!

        What is fair use? It's a right granted to us that allows us to use copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder, under certain circumstances. The central purpose of the doctrine of fair use is to encourage creative expression and innovation through the transformative use of intellectual property. Fair use is not unusual—quite the contrary: it's applied every day, in a variety of circumstances. Have you quoted an author in a paper for class? That's fair use! Have you watched "The Daily Show," or "South Park"? You've enjoyed the humor of parody that fair use allows! Have you DVRed those shows to watch later (or do you remember the dark ages of recording TV shows on your VCR)? Even though you're technically making a copy, that kind of copying is also fair use. But fair use is sometimes mischaracterized as being too difficult to determine and thus advised against out of fear of infringement. So, the organizers of Fair Use Week hope to increase awareness and understanding of fair use, and emphasize its importance to the creation of new knowledge. There are several online events taking place as part of Fair Use Week:
  • On Tuesday, February 24, from 2:00-3:00, Kevin Smith of Duke University will be presenting a webcast on fair use.
  • On Wednesday, February 25, from 3:00-4:00, Brandon Butler of American University will be hosting a "tweetchat" on Twitter about fair use and audiovisual materials, at the hashtag #videofairuse.
  • Several videos about fair use are scheduled to be released next week.
You can read more about Fair Use Week—why it's important and what it all means—at this link: http://fairuseweek.org/. I also recommend checking out the Fair Use Week Tumblr, organized by Kyle Courtney at Harvard University. He and his colleagues are posting interesting stories and snippets about Fair Use Week. You can follow @FairUseWeek on Twitter.  (And, if you haven't seen it, we have a page about fair use on our library website.) Finally, check out this great infographic that has been created about fair use! (click for full image)  

Google Wins Fair Use Argument in Book Search Lawsuit

On Thursday, November 14, 2013, eight years after the Authors Guild sued that Google Book Search violated the rights of authors, Judge Denny Chin finally handed down his decision (PDF) on the lawsuit. The Internet giant's project to scan millions of books held by academic libraries was found to "[advance] the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders." Advocates of fair use are applauding Judge Chin's decision. Brandon Butler, formerly Director of Public Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries (and a co-facilitator in the development of the ARL's Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries), calls the decision "a powerful affirmation of the value of research libraries." The Library Copyright Alliance, which last year issued an amicus brief in the case, quoted leaders of library organizations in a press release issued yesterday:
“ALA applauds the decision to dismiss the long running Google Books case. This ruling furthers the purpose of copyright by recognizing that Google’s Book search is a transformative fair use that advances research and learning.” - Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association
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“This decision, along with the decision by Judge Baer in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, makes clear that fair use permits mass digitization of books for purposes that advance the arts and sciences, such as search, preservation, and access for the print-disabled.” - Carol Pitts Diedrichs, president of the Association of Research Libraries
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"I echo the comments of my colleagues that this ruling, that strongly supports fair use principles, enables the discovery of a wealth of resources by researchers and scholars. Google Book search also makes searchable literally millions of books by students and others with visual disabilities. This is a tremendous opportunity for all our communities." - Trevor A. Dawes, president of the Association of College & Research Libraries
Inevitably, the Authors Guild has already announced its plan to appeal the decision. And some critics, while perhaps not siding with the Authors Guild, have questioned Google's motives in embarking on the project - readers' privacy is uncertain, for example. Google has also been criticized for providing low-quality or sometimes just incorrect metadata for the books it has scanned. But having access to such an enormous textual corpus, despite its flaws, is a boon for researchers working in the field of natural language processing -- Brandon Butler lauds the decision as "a victory...for transformative, non-consumptive search" -- as well as for the visually disabled.

Why is Wikipedia down today? (Jan. 18, 2012)

Major websites such as Wikipedia and the Internet Archive are holding blackouts today, January 18, 2012, in protest of two anti-piracy bills currently before Congress. Many believe that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) go too far in their efforts to curb illegal downloading and streaming of movies and television shows. The stated intent of these acts is to protect the intellectual property rights of copyright holders (sometimes the authors or creators but more frequently the large media corporations who own the works). However, if passed into law, they may set a dangerous precedent for permitting private companies to block access to information. Wikipedia, among other sites, has chosen to do just that today - block access to the information that millions of us seek every day - in order to highlight what they feel could happen if SOPA and PIPA are passed. What do you think about this topic? Read more here: ⇒ Full text of SOPA and PIPA"A Political Coming of Age for the Tech Industry" (The New York Times) On a lighter note... ⇒ "Wikipedia Blackout: A Nation of Students Mourn" (The Guardian) (compilation of tweets, may contain foul language) Register your opinion on SOPA/PIPA with Congress: ⇒ PopVox: What's Your Position on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)?PopVox: What's Your Position on the Protect IP Act (PIPA)?

Need that information TODAY? Visit our online collection of dictionaries and encyclopedias!

Apply Creative Commons Licenses to Your Work with These Tools

Next time you're writing a paper, putting together a presentation, uploading a video to YouTube, or updating your website, why not tell your audience that you've decided to expand access to your work? With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit — and only on the conditions you specify.

If you have a PC and use Microsoft Office products like Word and PowerPoint, you can get a free add-in that makes it easy to include a Creative Commons license. Read more about it and download the add-in here: To include CC licenses elsewhere (anywhere!), the Creative Commons license chooser offers the ability to select the criteria you want your license to include and then provides you with the relevant text and an image to use (including HTML for use on the web). In addition, Creative Commons offers best practices for marking your work as CC-licensed in a variety of formats, including images and video. Sites like YouTube and Flickr also offer the option of applying a Creative Commons license when you upload your stuff. For even more info about Creative Commons, check out their website.