Recent Events

DRM, Copyright, Creative Commons

This is a popular session! I couldn’t get into the Washington Room, so I’m in the overflow room where I can view the slides but can’t see the speakers. We’ve started out with speakers from Southern New Hampshire., Carol West and Stephanie Collins.  The roles of various stakeholders when it comes to digitization is first on the agenda. Then it’s on to the basics of copyright law. More important is the conflicts inherent in the process. Digital materials are everywhere, distributed by different publishers with different DRM policies, are often non-negotiable, and excessive control can impinge on individual privacy. Librarians are caught in the middle. They want to make information readily accessible but also have to enforce copyright. Guiding principles? DRM should protect rights of originators without limiting rights of libraries and library users. Need to institue new DRM policies, amend copyright laws, encourage new and creative licensing arrangements between originators and distributors. We need more interoperability, open access.

Michael Sauers from Nebaska Library Commission is now explaining Creative Commons. EULA: – he’s READING the whole thing!! We have rights, but copyright is a set of restrictions. Difficult to enforce when it’s digital media. Music mashups: The Grey Album, American Edit, Girl Talk, etc. Build on existing culture, but traditional copyright holders don’t like it. More seriously, he’s reading a copyright statement from a book. What about using an excerpt in an Amazon book review or in a blog? Hmmm.

When common sense says fair use, the lawyers disagree. Takedown notice for 27 second video on YouTube about little kid dancing to Prince song on radio. EFF got involved and got a fair use judgement. Even Mickey Mouse is not original Steamboat Willie was based on Buster Keaton as Steamboat Bill Jr.

We’re in a permission culture. That wasn’t what copyright was meant to be. But fair use now equals the right to hire a lawyer and defend yourself. Lawrence Lessig was upset about Sonny Bono copyright extention, lost the case in the Supreme Court, and came up with Creative Commons. CC says what it will allow rather than what you need to ask permission for.  Attribution is requested, use content in non-commerical manner, don’t change or make derivative copies, can add “pay it forward” model. You can search for materials covered under CC in advanced search.

It’s not perfect. Once you choose a license for your work, it’s irrevocable. Maybe there’s a negative market effects, particularly in photography world. And what is the definition of “non-commercial”?? What about unintended use? What if your photo is used to illustrate a point with which you absolutely disagree? And then there’s “right of publicity” – what if a photo he takes of me gets used commercially? Is this a violation of my rights?

He’s putting his slides up on Slideshare.


Marydee Ojala

Editor, ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals

Comments are closed.