Thursday, February 25, 2016

Carla Hayden Nominated by President Obama as Librarian for the Library of Congress

Carla Hayden was nominated by President Obama to be the nation's top librarian as the head of the Library of Congress.

See the article at NPR by Elizabeth Blair in Obama Nominates Carla Hayden To Lead Library Of Congress.

Hayden would be the first woman and first black to hold the position.

Library Cutbacks and Expensive Journals Tempt Academics to Try Alternative Access Routes That Bypass Copyrights

ACI reports on a new problem facing academic research, namely, that Expensive Journals Drive Academics To Break Copyright Law. As written there:
"A new pirate website called Sci-Hub [in Russia] allows free access to academic journals behind paywalls. Heather Joseph, an advocate for legal open access, explains the situation to Linda Wertheimer..."
Registration is required at ACI to access the above explanation.

Hat tip to "ACI Focus Posts: Select Posts from the ACI Team" at

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Library Law: Copyrights, Fair Use and Copying of Copyrighted Materials for Educational Use: Course Reserves via Digital Delivery of Supplemental Materials (Electronic Reserves, E-Reserves)

What is done is not always allowed, and what is allowed is not always done.

Which copyrighted materials -- and how much of any copyrighted publication -- can be copied and used freely as "fair use" in teaching? or research? 10%? 15%? What about digital copies? and what about their distribution?

A recent landmark case involves digital supplemental online reading materials (so-called "course reserves" viz. e-reserves) at Georgia State University. That case is Cambridge University Press v. Becker (Case No. 1:08-cv-01425, N.D. of Georgia, May 11, 2012), which according to Publishers Weekly has been appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Georgia State case should serve to better define what is allowed and what is not allowed in terms of digital fair use educational copying.

Indeed, we think the case may be reversed because the laws and precedents indicate that "individual" fair use copying for educational purposes in the physical classroom (or digital classroom) is seen much differently than "mass" copying or perhaps "crowd" e-reserves, which are essentially means of avoiding existing commercial licensing markets and/or permission channels.

Where does one draw the "fair use" line in a legal landscape that allows no "bright line" rules to be drawn? Looking at the Teach Act -- which specifically DOES NOT apply to "electronic reserves, coursepacks (electronic or paper) or interlibrary loan (ILL)" -- it nevertheless provides us with some broad copyright guidelines that can be extrapolated to the Georgia State case.

As written at Stanford University Libraries:
"Georgia Harper, an attorney with the University of Texas's library system has developed an excellent checklist to determine whether you are "ready to use the TEACH Act."
Take a look at the last link and look at the checklist. Harper writes (we have excerpted this material considerably from the original):
"Copyright law provides educators with a separate set of rights in addition to fair use, to display (show) and perform (show or play) others' works in the classroom. These rights are in Section 110(1) of the Copyright Act and apply to any work, regardless of the medium....

[A]n educator may show or perform any work related to the curriculum, regardless of the medium, face-to-face in the classroom
- still images, music of every kind, even movies. There are no limits and no permission required. Under 110(2), however, even as revised and expanded, the same educator would have to pare down some of those materials to show them to distant students or make them available over the Internet to face-to-face students. The audiovisual works and dramatic musical works may only be shown as clips -- "reasonable and limited portions," the Act says....

[P]utting anything online requires making a copy of it. The
TEACH Act authorizes us to digitize works for use in digital distance education, but only to the extent we are authorized to use those works in Section 110(2), and so long as they are not available digitally in a format free from technological protection.... 

Fair use ... remains important because the in-classroom activities (even if the classroom is virtual) the TEACH Act ... covers in class performances and displays, not, for example, digital delivery of supplemental reading, viewing, or listening materials. For those activities, as well as many others, we'll need to continue to rely on fair use. Remember, however, when relying on fair use, the fair use test is sensitive to harm to markets. This means that in general, where there is an established market for permissions, there will often be a narrower scope for fair use. In practical terms, this means that where it's easy to get permission, for example, to put text materials on reserve, our reliance on fair use should be limited....

Not everyone, nor every work, is covered
. Section 110(2) only applies to accredited nonprofit educational institutions. The rights granted do not extend to the use of works primarily produced or marketed for in-class use in the digital distance education market; works the instructor knows or has reason to believe were not lawfully made or acquired; or textbooks, coursepacks and other materials typically purchased by students individually." [emphasis added by LawPundit]
So now, what about that recent landmark case involving Georgia State? In that case, Cambridge University Press v. Becker, which has been appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court wrote:
"Almost all of the 75 excerpts at issue were assigned  as supplemental readings in graduate level or upper level undergraduate courses....

The excerpts were selected by 23 professors for 29 courses in three semesters in 2009.  On average these excerpts were 10.1% of the pages in the copyrighted books....

Between 2004 and early 2009 Georgia State had a copyright policy ... which described the prohibitions on copying in the Copyright Act and the basic elements of fair use. While the policy did not state what percentage of a copyrighted work could legitimately be copied, some professors who testified at trial believed (and, the Court infers, others did as well) that copying as much  as  20%  of  a  copyrighted  work  was  acceptable  as  fair  use....

On February 17, 2009 the Board of Regents introduced a new copyright policy for University System of Georgia schools, including Georgia State....

.... Professors ... were told that there was no across-the-board answer ... but that under fifteen percent would likely be safe and that under ten percent would be "really safe"....

The trial evidence showed that unlicensed copying of excerpts of copyrighted  books at colleges and universities is a widespread practice in the United States.... many schools' copyright policies allow more liberal unlicensed copying than does Georgia State's 2009 Copyright Policy....

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants have infringed their copyrights by allowing portions of Plaintiffs' works to be electronically distributed to users of Georgia State's electronic reserves system without obtaining permissions, in violation of the federal Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq....

Defendants contend that all of Plaintiffs' infringement claims are barred by the doctrine of fair use, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 107....

Defendants bear the burden of proving that each use was a fair use under the statute.

The Supreme Court's most recent and most important fair use opinion is
Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569 (1994)."
We are very philosophically sympathetic to the judge's holding in this case in favor of the defendants, i.e. against the publishers, but doubt on a legal basis that such wide-scale excerpting on a digital basis will be upheld upon appeal, involving as it does materials for which the mechanism for permissions exists. After all, "use" of educational  materials OFTEN does not involve use of an entire textbook, but only one or more chapters, or parts of those chapters, i.e. excerpts, so that viewing a book in terms of 10%, 15% or 20% used as "fair use" is not the correct standard. E-reserves serve as a means to get around buying copyrighted books and/or getting permissions and/or licenses and harm the copyright holders accordingly. When you use maybe one PAGE of a book, that might be fair use, but not whole chapters. In such a case, the law should probably require that you have to buy the book or get permission.

Take a look at the case of academic coursepacks which are NOT "free use" in terms of the copyright laws according to cases such as:
Basic Books Inc. v. Kinko’s Graphics Corp., 758 F. Supp. 1522 (S.D.N.Y. 1991)
American Geophysical Union v. Texaco Inc., 60 F.3d 913, 919 (2nd Circ. 1994)
Princeton Univ. v. Michigan Document Servs., 99 F.3d 1381 (6th Circ. 1996).

By the way, the applicable "fair use" statute under American law provides under 17 USC § 107 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use as follows:
"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."

Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly in Publishers Appeal Ruling in GSU E-Reserves Case

Ten Percent Is Fair Use For Educational Institutions – Copyright Owners Disappointed,

The six million dollar fair use standard, Scholarly Communications @ Duke

Georgia State Fair Use Lawsuit Plaintiffs File Appeal, The Digital Reader, Chris Meadows

Judge Denies Publishers’ Request for Relief in Georgia State U. E-Reserves Case, The Ticker at The Chronicle of Higher Education

Copyright Court Decisions, Yi Hong Sim, Music Library Association

Memorandum from Randolph D. Moss, Acting Assistant Attorney General, to Andrew J. Pincus, General Counsel, Department of Commerce, on Whether Government Reproduction of Copyrighted Materials Invariably is a "Fair Use" under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976

Crossposted at LawPundit.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Public Library Services Threatened by Budget Cuts

At the Huffington Post, Christian Zabriskie in Confronting The Biggest Threat To The Public Library writes inter alia that:
"The biggest threat to the public library in American culture is limited hours. In the new budget reality if libraries are forced to dramatically decrease their hours then they will be drastically reduced in their ability to serve their public."
Read the whole piece here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Syracuse University Library and the Marcel Breuer Digital Archive: Architecture and Furniture Design 20th Century : Digitization

Marcel Breuer Digital Archive
"The Marcel Breuer Digital Archive represents a collaborative effort headed by Syracuse University Library to digitize over 30,000 drawings, photographs, letters and other materials related to the career of Marcel Breuer, one of the most influential architects and furniture designers of the twentieth century."

NYPL Periodicals Librarian Raymond Pun Sees Library as a Powerful Symbol of Democracy and Civilization

At Crain's New York Business, Miriam Kreinin Souccar presents the New York Public Libary (NYPL) periodicals librarian Raymond Pun as someone who sees libraries as powerful symbols of democracy and civilization.

Gotham Gigs: Periodicals librarian is the answer man

New York Public Library $300 Million Proposed Anthony Marx Renovation

Read it at the New York Times in

A Library for the Future

Ancient Signs The Alphabet and the Origins of Writing: epubli Publisher Pages Now Available in English Language

The Berlin publisher -- epubli -- of my recently published book,
Ancient Signs The Alphabet and the Origins of Writing,
now has its pages up in English
for those of you who have been considering
getting a print or ebook copy of Ancient Signs.

The English-language pages are now at
while the German-language pages are at

Happy reading viz. happy lending!

Libraries Struggling with Stagnant Budgets and Steady Serials Price Increases in 2012

The Library Journal has the story by Stephen Bosch and Kittie Henderson at Coping with the Terrible Twins | Periodicals Price Survey 2012
"Stuck between the rock (stagnant budgets) and the hard place (steady serials price increases) ... libraries are nearing the end of their ability to leverage shrinking buying power."
Read the entire posting.

Crossposted at LawPundit.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Piece of Blue Sky: The Dynamics of Faith by Darrel E. Berg, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan

I am currently reading the Reverend Darrel E. Berg, A Piece of Blue Sky: The Dynamics of Faith, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1965.

In the chapter "Not for Sale", Darrel E. Berg refers to Nobel Prize winner Albert Schweitzer as a role model for his ministry as man morally "not for sale", who turned his back on riches to be a medical missionary in Africa:
"A man who 'has it made' ministers to those who have no claim on him."
-- Darrel E. Berg, A Piece of Blue Sky: The Dynamics of Faith

What does it mean to be "not for sale" morally? Darrel addresses not only his own congregation, but the congregations of all churches:
"[W]e need to remember that the greatest testing may come to us after we have gotten what we wanted....Then it is that the King of Sodom comes making his approach, appealing to our selfishness, "Keep the spoil for yourself, keep your money for yourself, keep your prestige for yourself; don't risk it for those who don't deserve it. Keep your schools to yourselves, and your churches, your clubs and your neighborhoods." That is the way the King of Sodom talks, and if we listen to him we sometimes sell all that we are to him.

The great battles are not the military, political or business battles, but the moral battles. Abraham won a surprising victory over the forces of the ancient King Chedorloamer, but it was not more important than his victory over the King of Sodom on the way home. In the conquest, he showed that all that he stood for was unique and sacred and not for sale.

It was important for us to win over the Nazi, but it would be a shame for us to have won that struggle and then fail to win the moral struggle with racial injustice, crime and corruption in which we are now involved. It is important for us to win the battle to make a living, but it is even more important for us to win the battle to be what we are called to be. It was important for Samson to defeat the Philistines, but it was a shame that on the way home he had to fall prey to Delilah. It is important for us to win the argument with the Communists, but it would be sad if we lost our souls to Sodom before we could carry home the trophy."
Indeed, the Nazis and the Communists have by and large been defeated, but are "we in America" losing the trophy on our way home? by filling our coffers more and more at the expense of our neighbors? by opposing health care for all? by keeping our spoils of the battle to make a living only for ourselves?

Crossposted from LawPundit.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fiction Pulitzer 2012 NOT Awarded! German Library Users Would Put in a Vote for Nele Neuhaus as an Alternative Prize Winner

[crossposted from BookPundit]

NOooo Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2012?
No problem.

How about an alternative reward for Nele Neuhaus, Germany's best-selling crime novelist?

As written at Agence Hoffman:
"Nele Neuhaus is the most successful German crime writer. She took the bestseller lists by storm with SCHNEEWITTCHEN MUSS STERBEN/Snow White must die and WER WIND SÄT.*

Nele Neuhaus' gripping novels are set in the Taunus mountains, where the author lives."
* We add here our footnote translation of "Wer Wind Sät" as "If You Sow Wind", based on the German phrase that whoever sows wind, will reap a whirlwind.

So we herewith award The BookPundit Fiction Prize for 2012 to Nele Neuahus, who writes "Taunus, Germany-based" complex crime novels in German dealing with modern topics such as wind energy and environmental politics, for example, which she then weaves into the magically interlaced substance of her marvelous criminal mystery novels. The results are outstanding.

This award, by the way, is not connected with any other benefit other than this simple recognition of her excellent book writing.

We initially became aware of the works of Nele Neuhaus after asking at the local library what novels were currently being borrowed the most and was told "the crime series of books of Nele Neuhaus". Well, so we loaned out a book.

Her books are a series of crime squad investigations led by Inspector Oliver von Bodenstein and his colleague Pia Kirchhoff. The books are well researched and the author works together with real crime investigation professionals to get the crime details right. A truly great, almost natural gift for writing adds the rest.

Our own bookseller regards Tiefe Wunde ("Deep Wounds") as the best book by Nele Neuhaus thus far and it is the third book in the series. Google Translator translates the short description of Tiefe Wunde at as follows:
"The 92-year-old Holocaust survivor David Joshua Goldberg is killed at his home in the Taunus with a neck shot. At autopsy, the doctor makes a strange discovery: Goldberg's arm bears the remains of a blood group tattoo, as it was customary for members of the SS. Then ... two more murders [occur], executions. What mystery linked the victims to each other? The investigations lead ... Chief Inspector Oliver Bodenstein and his colleague Pia Kirchhoff far into the past ...[to] East Prussia in January 1945 ... 
Nearly 200 enthusiastic readers ... on 22 August 2009, [experienced] the book launch of 'Deep Wounds' at the Kempinski Hotel in Königstein [in the Taunus]."
Well, if you read German, you are lucky, because you can enjoy the Neuhaus crime novels. We assume the publisher will bring English-language versions soon, but we can not guarantee it.

Maybe the best thing they could do this year was not to award the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. They would have missed Neuhaus anyway.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Library Igloo?

The Library Igloo?

Miler Lagos
and this photograph

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ancient Signs : The Alphabet and the Origins of Writing

Ancient Signs: The Alphabet and the Origins of Writing
by Andis Kaulins is now available in 4 versions
(b/w, color, and both of those also as ebooks)

In Ancient Signs, the author traces the origins of writing and the alphabet to syllabic writing systems in ancient cultures and shows that these have one common origin.

Ancient Signs
print b/w version black and white inside
B/W inside
200 pages, 90 gram paper
Price: €35.99 (about US $47 on day of posting)
for the B/W print version of Ancient Signs
Ancient Signs traces the origins of the alphabet to syllabic writing.
Softcover - print b/w, cover in color

 Ancient Signs
eBook b/w version black and white version
B/W inside
200 pages
Price: €27.99 (about US $37 on day of posting)
for the B/W eBook version of Ancient Signs
Ancient Signs traces the origins of the alphabet to syllabic writing. Ancient Signs

color print version color inside
COLOR inside
200 pages, 150 gram glossy paper
Price: €149.00 (about US $196 on day of posting)
for the color print version of Ancient Signs
Ancient Signs traces the origins of the alphabet to syllabic writing.
Hardcover - print and cover in color Ancient Signs

color eBook version color inside
COLOR inside
200 pages
Price: €39.99 (about US $52 on day of posting)
for the color inside eBook version of Ancient Signs
Ancient Signs traces the origins of the alphabet to syllabic writing.

Enjoy Reading.