Copyright, fair use and education in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Marc from the Chronicle of Higher Education sez,
New copyright lawsuits and policies have hobbled teaching and research. Now scholars are pushing back. In a special report, the Chronicle of Higher Education covers the copyright wars from several angles:

* A Professor Takes His Fight to the Supreme Court: The ability to teach and research many books, films, and pieces of music may hinge on Lawrence Golan's suit

* Colleges Lock Away Millions of Works: Academic archives are playing it safe, limiting online access to books, images, and artwork

* What You Don't Know About Copyright, But Should

* Pushing Back Against Legal Threats By Putting Fair Use Forward: A dynamic professorial duo leaps to the defense of beleaguered scholars

* Two Universities Under the Legal Gun

It's a great package. Here's a snip from Colleges Lock Away Millions of Works:

The collection grew out of a love affair between a now-79-year-old German immigrant and the Mexican tunes he would hear on the radio in California and in cantinas every time he drove through the American Southwest. Chris Strachwitz was enamored by corridos, or narrative ballads. He combed rec­ord shops, distributors, jukebox companies, and even radio stations. Among the tunes he salvaged are recordings from small, regional labels that have dropped out of sight. Mr. Strachwitz donated his records to the Arhoolie Foundation, which he leads, and in 2001 the foundation started digitizing the songs with UCLA.

But the university is sharing only a fraction of that music with the world because it believes most of the collection is made up of orphans, still covered by copyright. Full access is restricted to computers connected to the campus network. Off-campus users can hear only 50-second snippets. UCLA chose that policy based on its reading of fair-use exceptions to copyright law, which may permit reproductions for teaching and research. Going further would introduce "a level of risk that, given the current status of copyright law, was really challenging," says Sharon E. Farb, associate university librarian for collection management and scholarly communication.

(Thanks, Marc!)



  1. A few years ago, someone made a rather prescient comment about how universities were producing more lawyers than doctors and engineers, and posited about what would be the end result of such a mismatch of professions on society.

    We now see the result in all of it’s glory – the patent/copyright troll.

  2. Eminent Domain.

    The same way the government seizes your grandfather’s farm and gives to to a company to strip mine for uranium or coal could be used to free orphan works.

    If you leave money in an unattended account, the government eventually takes it ‘for the common good’ – the same is true for real estate, stocks and even gold. Out of production media should be treated the same way.

    The copyright cabal doesn’t want to compete with classic works. Much modern media is formula garbage and can’t stand up to the classics and they know this.

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