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Situation Report, updated October 1999

Copyright and Fair Use

The current environment is becoming even more heated as academic press and universities enter the fray. Long-time heavy weights in the publishing arena are getting significant pushback from schools and electronic distributors. Reed Elsevier has been among the most vocal in defending their right to republish scholarly material and retain copyright.

The Web has raised significant issues of distribution and retention of copyright. The Chronicle of Higher Education has the most reliable and unbiased accounts of the situation. A quick search of their site will bring back many valuable articles chronicling events over the last few years.

The PEAK project, hosted in part by The University of Michigan, will yield interesting information both on the perception on the part of publishers of use of electronic scholarly journals and the actual use by students and scholars. The URL for PEAK is

Useful Websites

  • United States Copyright Office, Library of Congress

    United States Copyright Office of the Library of Congress remains the single best source on copyright legislation and trends in the marketplace. This site is updated frequently and includes up to date information and links to websites on WIPO, URAA, the impact of the “Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act,” implications for distance learning and reserve material, etc.

    Library of Congress Copyright website update:
    The LC page now includes the Report on Copyright and Digital Distance Education. The report is 353 pages long. Reviewing the 25 page Executive Summary is advised before using a ream of paper to print this report.

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, signed into law on October 28, 1998, amended the copyright law to provide limitations for service provider liability relating to material online. New subsection 512(c) of the copyright law provides limitations on service provider liability with respect to information residing, at direction of a user, on a system or network that the service provider controls or operates, if the service provider has designated an agent for notification of claimed infringement by providing contact information to the Copyright Office and through the service provider’s publicly accessible website. 17 U.S.C. 512(c).

    There are 5 titles in the Act, each of special signficance to libraries and educational institutions.

  • Association of Research Libraries

    The ARL site remains one of the most comprehensive sites for information on Copyright, Intellectual Property, and Fair Use. The site is updated regularly, usually every month or two.

  • Digital Images Fair Use Guidelines A Summary of Concerns (Association of Research Libraries)

  • Union for the Public Domain

  • The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)

  • Fair Use Online

  • Copyright Society of the USA

    “The Copyright Society of the U.S.A. is a nonprofit corporation organized in 1953. It was established to foster interest in and advance the study of copyright law and of rights in literature, music, art, the theatre, motion pictures and other forms of intellectual property. The Society’s membership is comprised of individuals, business organizations, law firms and associations which are involved in or affected by copyright, including those based on new technologies for creating and using copyrightable works. Members reside in the United States and elsewhere in the world.”

  • Portal coverage of Copyright issues Digital_Copyright_Law/ Even Yahoo! has gotten on board with the Digital Copyright Law issues. They have a page dedicated to it, under their technology section. The coverage is spotty, some articles inflammatory, but Yahoo! is doing a decent job of highlighting the issues.

  • Indiana University Online Copyright Tutorial

  • University of Houston Libraries: Resources: Legal

    A meta site for Copyright and Fair Use information valuable to libraries.

  • Pending Copyright Legislation, 105th Congress

  • “Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography”

    A bibliography maintained by Charles W. Bailey, Jr. Most links are recent to the latest three months. A nice mix of legal, library, and scholarship issues.

  • Digital Future Coalition

  • Legal Minds Community

  • Guide to Copyright for Music Librarians (Music Library Association)

  • Copyright & Fair Use, Stanford University Libraries

  • Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia. Draft, prepared by Consortium of College and University Media Centers (CCUMC) Fair Access Working Committee

  • Digital Images and Fair Use Web Sites (Maryly Snow) portland.htm

Annotated Bibliography

Amaral, Kimberly. (1999 January 25) The digital imaging revolution: legal implications and possible solutions. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web: digitalimaging.html
    The author analyzes copyright law and trends as they apply to digital imaging of objects including the use of scanners.

Association of Research Libraries (26 January 1999) Copyright and the NII:updates/e-news 1998 . [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    Various stories about the Internet that affect research libraries including copyright and similar legislation and related court cases.

Brinson, J. Dianne and Mark F.Radcliffe. (25 January 1999) An intellectual property law primer for multimedia and Web developers. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    An overview of the copyright laws and how they apply to multimedia and digital works.

Brockel, Kathleen. (1999 January 25) The 411 on copyright for Net photos. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    The site, for photographers, gives the outline of copyright law as it applies to photographs on the Internet. If the photographers secure a copyright, they can make money from having their photos displayed on the Net.

The copyright Web site. (25 January 1999) [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    The site gives a synopsis of copyright law with a section on what on the Web is eligible for copyright protection and what isn’t.

Fair use in the electronic age: serving the public interest. (26 January 1999) [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    Several library associations explore the legal usage of copyrighted works by individuals, libraries and educational institutions in the digital age. In this working paper, the associations call for a broad interpretation of the fair use sections of the copyright law.

Field, Thomas G. (26 January 1999) Copyright for computer authors. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    An detailed overview of the copyright laws and how the laws apply to digital material of all types. This site is part of the Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Greguras, Fred, Michael R. Eggar, Sandy J. Wong. (26 January 1999) Multimedia content and the super highway: rapid acceleration or foot on the brake. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    This paper summarizes the copyright and licensing issues involved in creating multimedia content, describes activities in Japan with respect to such issues, and proposes a U.S. multimedia clearinghouse. The authors look at literary works, photographs, film clips and music works.

Guernsey, Lisa. (9 January 1998) A Provost Challenges His Faculty to Keep Copyright on Journal Articles. He asks: Why should colleges pay publishers to gain access to work produced on the campus? The Chronicle of Higher Education. Section: Information Technology. Page: A29 [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web: Posted with permission on /alcts/div/networked_resources/nrmcdocs.html This material may not be posted, published, or distributed without permission from The Chronicle.

    “At Yale University, for example, the university librarian, Scott Bennett, has suggested that Yale add an advisory note to its copyright policy that would encourage researchers to retain their copyrights when dealing with journal publishers. The proposal has been posted on line to trigger discussion

Guernsey, Lisa. (9 January 1998) George Washington U. Web Site Explains Copyright Law. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Section: Information Technology. Page: A29 [On-line] Available on thw World Wide Web: Posted with permission on /alcts/div/networked_resources/ nrmc.html This material may not be posted, published, or distributed without permission from The Chronicle.

    “George Washington University graduate students developed ‘Copyright Bay,’ a colorful World-Wide Web site that uses coastal metaphors to help schoolteachers and professors navigate ‘Fair Use Harbor,’ where they can find guidelines on what can be safely photocopied or posted on line. At the harbor’s eastern end is ‘Dist-Ed Point,’ which focuses on distance learning. It’s just shy of the dread ‘Infringement Reef’
    ( coprbay.htm).

    “Many such sites (although not ‘Copyright Bay’), are listed in an index based at the University of Iowa. ‘Copyright and Multimedia Law for Webbuilders and Multimedia Authors’ connects users to such resources as the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office and a page listing ‘10 Big Myths About Copyright.’ The Web-site index can be found at copyright.html.”

Harper, Georgia. (25 January 1999) Copyright law in the electronic environment. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    She calls it a crash course on copyright. Ms Harper explains what protection copyright grants, who are copyright holders, what is fair use and many other topics. It is apparently written for the faculty at the University of Texas, in order that the teachers don’t infringe on anyone’s copyright.

Leventhal, Michael. (25 January 1999) WiredLaw. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    Leventhal, head of the Technology and New Media Department of Wolf, Rifkin & Shapiro LLP, gives an overview of the copyright law as it applies to technological resources including Web sites. He explains cases that have been decided about domain names registered with the Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) including the case between Kaplan and Princeton Review.

Mann, Charles C. (September 1998). Who will own your next good idea? The Atlantic Monthly. September 1998. 282(3):57-82. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web in three parts:

    Charles C. Mann is a contributing editor of The Atlantic. His most recent book is @ Large (1997), written with David Freedman. Illustrations by Theo Rudnak.

Martin, Gerard. (26 January 1999) Online fair use of copyrighted material: issues and concerns. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web: fair_use_online.article

    With the Internet and Web usage growing exponentially, it is time to review the concept and practice of fair use as it applies to the online environment. He examines, philosophically, the idea of “free” information on the Net or whether copyright should be strictly enforced.

National Academies. (3 November 1999) Legislators should go slow on electronic copyright laws. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    Short article announcing a report prepared by the National Research Council on electronic property rights issues. The article links to a press release, chair’s statement, a report summary.

National Music Publishers Association. (26 January 1999) Local Swiss attorney seizes Website in anticipation of potential criminal prosecution. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    The announcement that several American music publishers have brought suit against the Internet’s largest unauthorized Website, the International Lyrics Server. After suit was brought in November, 1998, additional complaints have resulted in the seizure of the computers and the contents of the site as evidence.

National Research Council. Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in the Emerging Information Infrastructure. 1999. The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age. ISBN 0-309-06499-6

    “This book presents the multiple facets of digitized intellectual property, defining terms, identifying key issues, and exploring alternatives. It follows the complex threads of law, business, incentives to creators, the American tradition of access to information, the international context, and the nature of human behavior. Technology is explored for its ability to transfer content and its potential to protect intellectual property rights. The book proposes research and policy recommendations as well as principles for policymaking.”

Nickell, Joe. (26 January 1999) We can work it out. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    Pascal de Vries, proprietor of the International Lyrics Server, says that he’ll try to work out a settlement to get the Web site back online. ILS is not the only lyrics database on the Net. The proprietor of another site realizes that he never received permission, but claims that the sites aren’t causing financial damage to the copyright holders.

Norman, Sandy. (26 January 1999) Position paper on copyright in the electronic environment. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    Although libraries respect copyright holders, they believe that access to information on the Web should be available to all, regardless of their ability to pay. IFLA also believes that the lending of published electronic resources by libraries for cultural and educational purposes should not be restricted by legislation.

Oberman, Michael S. and Trebor Lloyd. (26 January 1999) Courts now confront online photograph copying. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    An online reprint of an article from the October 23, 1995 National Law Journal. Even though there is no definite case law, the authors contend that scanning of photographs , without the copyright holder’s permission, is a violation of the law. They use cases with similar use of new technology to reach their conclusions.

To Publish or Perish. (March 1998) Policy Perspectives. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    This article is based on a national meeting of presidents, chief academic officers, and librarians of major research universities across North America, in addition to policy and legal experts, leaders of scholarly organizations, and heads of academic publishing centers. It provides a valuable overview of the issues and presents the fiscal issues in a critical light.

Weiner, Robert S.(26 January 1999) Copyright in a digital age: practical guidance for information professionals in the midst of legal uncertainty. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web:

    Originally published in Online, May, 1997, this is a penetrating, though biased analysis of what can be copyrighted and what is free on the Internet. Arguments range from everything should be free on the Net to the Net should reflect the print world and everything in between. Weiner, a VP of Sales and Marketing for the Copyright Clearance Center believes that a rights management licensing as the CCC manages for photocopying would be the best solution. For now, both copyright holders and information professionals should develop copyright policies.
What’s Fair Game? (September 1998) American Libraries, 29(8):51-54.
    Publishing Executive Patricia Schroeder and Librarian James Neal Sound Off Over How Many Bytes One Can Access Before Crossing the Digital Copyright Line.

Young, Jeffrey R. (11 January 1999) An On-Line Publisher Files Court Challenge to Copyright-Extension Law. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Section: Information Technology. Page: A20. [On-line] Available on the World Wide Web: Posted with permission on /alcts/div/networked_resources/ nrmc.html This material may not be posted, published, or distributed without permission from The Chronicle.

    An on-line publisher of classic literature is challenging a law that extends the copyright protection of published works for 20 years. The publisher, Eldritch Press, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week arguing that the copyright-extension law is unconstitutional because it unfairly enlarges the rights of copyright holders at the expense of the public’s right to have access to information. The law allows copyright holders to maintain exclusive ownership of their works for up to 95 years.

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