Pushing Libraries and Archives to the Edge of the Law

“Pushing Libraries and Archives to the Edge of the Law”

BOBBY GLUSHKO, University of Michigan School of Information, University of California, Berkeley – School of Law

The ability to digitize hard copies, the proliferation of born digital content, and access to online distribution holds the promise of improved access to archival materials. Despite these advances, libraries and archives are increasingly hindered in providing this access by the legal issues surrounding their collections.  However, this unfortunate problem can be resolved with a mixture of good policy, careful action, clarification of uncertain legal implications, and a reliance on the protections afforded to libraries and archives by the law.

This paper explores the legal issues faced by archivists and librarians in digitizing and distributing their materials.  Through a discussion of current archiving practices, this paper walks readers though the relevant sections of the copyright act, as well as other implicated areas of the law.  By showing potential sites of legal conflict, engaging difficulties with seeking permission to use library and archival content, and suggesting areas where archivists can push the boundaries of their rights more aggressively, this paper provides a glimpse of the legal landscape surrounding digital archiving, and offers suggestions on how to successfully navigate it.  It is my sincere hope that this effort can empower librarians and archivists to make full use of their collections, to assert the full scope of their rights under the law, and to become advocates helping to shape the national discussion over the future of digital collections.

 

Source:  LSN Intellectual Property: Copyright Law eJournal Vol. 1 No. 11, 12/15/2010

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This entry was posted in Archives, copyright, Libraries and tagged by Paul Lomio. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Lomio

Paul is library director and lecturer at law at Stanford Law School. He has a J.D. from Gonzaga Law School, an LL.M. from the University of Washington, and a M.L.I.S. from the Catholic University of America. He is the author (with Henrik Spang-Hanssen) of Legal Research Methods in the U.S. and Europe. He also likes to ride his bicycle.

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