Librarian's Copyright Litany (updated)


UPDATE: revised version now available

Exploring some exhortatory language to counter the message I encounter from many librarians that copyright is an area where our primary concern should be "compliance". I don't think this is a finished version - very much welcome your input/suggestions/feedback.

Inspired by Lessig's "Certificate of Entitlement" to question copyright law (clearer copy) and Niebuhr's "Serenity Prayer".

The Librarian's Copyright Litany
May we:
- Strive to meet and advocate for the needs, both present and future, of the communities we serve;
- Recognize that copyright law in its current formulation, and in the preferred future formulations of most content providers, primarily presents a barrier to meeting those needs - but stand firmly and expansively in those areas where the law already recognizes public rights; and
- Zealously promote all avenues towards a greater recognition of the public interest in copyright, including in the public consciousness through our daily interactions with our users, through our own contract negotiations, and in legislative and judicial processes.

Actually, one question I already have: should the title be a singular or plural possessive? I've already flip-flopped a couple times since starting the post...


I especially like the last bullet.

I'd love a line that says, "Remember that the purpose of copyright is to promote the progress of society, and not the interests of large media corporations" or some such. Could even quote the constitution directly. I feel like it's so much easier to talk about these issues to people who are ill informed about copyright by starting with the Article 1 Section 8 Clause 8. But maybe that's just me.

I have no opinion on the singular or plural possessive. I struggle with it each time I mention the Farmer's' Market in writing.

I absolutely agree with Molly. Once librarians understand the purpose of the copyright is to advance learning thru the dissemination of creative works, they're eyes pop open.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by nasims published on April 27, 2011 4:06 PM.

Delving into the DMCA, Part I: What-All Is Even In There??? was the previous entry in this blog.

A thought on collection cuts is the next entry in this blog.

I'm Nancy Sims, the Copyright Program Librarian at the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Though I am a lawyer as well as a librarian, no content on this blog constitutes legal advice; if you need direct advice on your legal rights or responsibilities, please consult your own attorney. This blog represents only my own opinions and not those of my employer.

I'm @CopyrightLibn on Twitter.

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