What does a Copyright Librarian do, anyway? Special user agreements

A lot of people I meet are curious what my job is like. In fact, a lot of my colleagues who work in the same library as me don’t know what I do with my time. So I’m going to highlight some interesting things that come up in my work. Hopefully, this may become a […]

Libraries are not anti-copyright. No, really.

I am a co-signatory on a letter sent today to the heads of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, who have expressed interest in updating/tinkering with current US copyright law. Among other suggestions, they are interested in removing the Copyright Office from the Library of Congress. This is a valid policy position, but many advocates […]

Supreme Court Denies Cert in Authors Guild v. Google

Scanning books in order to make them searchable is fair use. (The Author’s Guild asked the Supreme Court to review the previous court’s opinions that Google Books’ scanning project is fair use, the Supreme Court decided not to hear the appeal (‘denied cert (certiorari)’), and that means the Second Circuit’s opinion on the case stands.) […]

11th Circuit Rules On Georgia State Fair Use Case

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling today in Cambridge University Press et. al. v. Patton – otherwise known as “the Georgia State case.” This is a case in which academic publishers (Cambridge UP, Oxford UP, and Sage) sued a public university for use of excerpts from books…

Another flowchart deconstruction

New flowchart flying around Facebook and Twitter this morning purporting to answer the “Can I Use That Picture?” question. (Here’s the original post.) One thing the author, “The Visual Communication Guy”, Curtis Newbold, does really well is engage on some ethical issues! But the legal information has some problems. Again,…

Copyright Decisionmaking Flowchart – Some Critical Reflections

Yesterday, a new infographic on copyright decisionmaking for teachers started making the rounds in my social media spheres. It originates from http://langwitches.org/blog/2014/06/10/copyright-flowchart-can-i-use-it-yes-no-if-this-then/ Because several people asked my opinion of it, and because several other people responded with concern equal to mine when I shared it, I thought it’d be worthwhile…

If takedown notices are what it took for you to -really think- about rights ownership in your publications…

Last week, Academia.edu started receiving mass takedown notices from Elsevier (an academic publisher) for papers uploaded to the site by their authors. This has come as an offensive surprise to many of the authors who received the notices, and to many other academic authors who heard about the takedown requests….

Copyright historians: The “Happy Birthday” class action suit and “proving” public domain status

Earlier this week, some filmmakers filed a class action suit that attempts to establish as fact that the song “Happy Birthday to You” is in the public domain – and has been for many years. The suit is a class action on behalf of everyone who has paid licensing…

What is the government’s interest in copyright? Not that of the public.

Like many other geeklaw & policy folks, I was baffled from the get-go by the decisions of federal prosecutors to pursue massive criminal charges against Aaron Swartz for downloading papers from JSTOR. I could understand that his activities constituted problematic behavior, but not the blustering punitive response. If Aaron’s wrongful…

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