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Building on Others' WorksBuilding on Others' Works

Advanced topics in copyright law

The library, the university press and the college of fine arts
are here to see you, Counselor

Scenarios and suggested analyses prepared by Peggy Hoon, Evan Kaplan and
Georgia Harper for NACUA, Summer 2002, Boston, Massachusettes

Questions from the library

1. Professor Goodfellow has used "traditional" print reserves in the library for supplemental class materials for many years. Typical items placed on print reserves have included:

Professor Goodfellow's library has initiated an electronic reserves service and the professor would now like all print reserve materials made available electronically. Additionally, the professor would like to link directly to articles and materials available through the library's licensed electronic databases and e-journals (either from the electronic reserves site or from the professor's class web site).


2. Professor Goodfellow teaches this same class at another local university and would like those students to be able to access these same materials through your library's electronic reserves site. The universities have extended library borrowing privileges to each other's faculty, staff, and students.


3. Furthermore, Professor Goodfellow has numerous distance ed students who either do not have reliable internet access or do not have a sufficiently powerful enough computer to bring up the huge pdf e-reserves files in a timely fashion. The professor would like the e-reserves materials copied to a cd-rom for mailing to the individual distance education students.


4. Finally, several students in the professor's class are visually impaired and are requesting that the electronic reserves materials be converted into a format that can be read by a text reader. This would entail significant time and expense for the library.


With respect to electronic reserves overall (scenarios 1-4), it is important to remember that perhaps the most expedient course from the viewpoint of counsel (always get permission), may not necessarily be the only lawful route and may be a difficult obstacle to achieving a reasonable and legitimate educational use.

5. Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

For years, your university library has filled interlibrary loan requests for journal articles through photocopying and use of "snail mail." In an effort to improve service and efficiency, your library would like to fill these requests by:

a. photocopying the article and faxing it
b. scanning the print article and sending it to the requesting library electronically
c. scanning the print article, posting it to a secure website, and emailing the url to the requestor
d. retrieving the article from one of the library's licensed electronic resources and sending as in b or c above

Can they?

  1. Copyright Use Primer
  2. Fair Use Considerations Worksheet
  3. Using the four factor fair use test
  4. Copyright and Fair Use: Stanford University Library
  5. Copyright in the library
  6. CONTU Guidelines
  7. Interlibrary Loan Code of the United States
  8. Copyright in the library: Interlibrary loan
  9. NCSU Libraries E-Reserves
  10. E-Reserves Clearinghouse
  11. Related cases dealing with commercial document delivery services and free-lance authors:
    New York Times v. Tasini, 121 S. Ct. 2381 (2001)
    Ryan v. Carl Corp., 23 F. Supp. 2d 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1998)


Questions from the University Press

The director of the University Press asks you for help in planning an electronic publishing project of frightening proportions affectionately titled "Project Redlight."

1. Stage One of the project consists of digitizing all existing backlist books and journals published by the University Press, and archiving the electronic versions in encrypted form, for storage and also for production of future print versions only. Any issues?

2. Stage Two of Project Redlight consists of disseminating many of these backlist works online on a new website to be operated by the University Press. The website will include a "menu driven" search capability that will allow the user to download and mix and match parts of the works for "academic, non-commercial purposes" (but there are no other terms and conditions governing the use of the website). While the digitized backlist works will be encrypted to prevent unauthorized copying and distribution, there is no charge to users, and authentication procedures are weak. Any issues?

3. Stage Three of Project Redlight entails licensing the electronic rights to all past, present and future works published by the University Press on a non-exclusive basis to others, including web site "aggregators" of content, academic consortia and websites operated by professional organizations. The licensees demand that the works be disseminated without encryption or other copy protection measures, and they also balk at the idea of including an end user license "clickwrap" sequence on their websites and tangible digital media. The licensees are prepared to pay the University Press on the basis of royalties in return for which they demand the use of the University Press name, even though there is no guarantee of any return or advance against royalties. Any issues?"


Questions from the College of Fine Arts

1. Your College of Fine Arts, Art History Slide Library Curator has received numerous requests from Art History faculty members to digitize hundreds of slides so that they can be displayed in class using computer projectors instead of slide projectors, and accessed remotely by the students for study and review. The slides include faculty donations from their own trips abroad, copystand photography, where slides are made from photographs in books, journals, brochures, etc., commercially purchased slides from museums and commercial slide sets associated with textbooks. The provenance of some slides is unknown.

Are there any problems with this?

2. The library has also been approached by other Art History Librarians in the state about creating a shared resource so that everyone doesn't end up having to digitize all their hundreds of thousands of slides. The library is eager to participate.

What's your response?

3. Your College's music department has come up with a proposal to digitize all the old vinyl recordings used to teach popular courses like The History of Rock and Roll, and make the songs covered in the curriculum available online, password protected, using streaming technology, which means that no copy of any particular song would be created on the student's computer. Many of these records are available on CDs, but some are not. Even if the department bought CDs, however, it would need to rip the files from the CD, in other words, make copies of the individual songs and store them on a central file server, so that the instructor could assemble the songs into appropriate collections for the curriculum.

Any problems?

4. And, by the way, the radio, television and film department wants to do something similar with old films (digitize them) so that faculty can select clips for use in film criticism classes (stream clips to students on password protected websites).

This is ok, isn't it?

  1. Confu Information from the Copyright Crash Course
  2. Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd. v. Corel Corp., 36 F. Supp. 2d 191 (S.D.N.Y. 1999)
  3. Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials including UT System Rules of Thumb for Image Archives
  4. Visual Resources Association Image Collection Guidelines
  5. Copyright and Art Issues, a resource for image archivists by Christine Sundt, University of Oregon
  6. Variations, a project of the Indiana University Purdue University Indiana libraries to digitize music resources, including research into copyright issues associated with the music archive.


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The Copyright Crash Course © 2001, 2007 Georgia K. Harper