June 20, 2005

When can you digitize old newspapers?

I got this question at the very end of the this reply.

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Lyrics and digital reference

At the   I was asked whether libraries can scan copyrighted lyrics from a book to answer virtual reference questions. I ducked it until I could doublecheck the definition of “musical work.”

I’ve done some digging, and this is my reply (subject to the usual caveats – i.e. check with your institution’s lawyer…)  If anyone else wants to weigh in here, go ahead.

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June 17, 2005

Breaking News: Google / Univ of Michigan Digization contract available now

Dear Mary Minow:

The U of Michigan has posted their confidential agreement with
Google in response to my freedom of information request. See the
link at the top of shame on everyone else. But the most shame on Google and the U of M,
who should have taken one look at the situation and decided to skip all
the confidentiality language from the start.

This is, after all, clearly a public policy issue. Remember, Google is
on a mission from God to organize all the world's information. That's
just about as public as you can get.

-- Daniel Brandt

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Open Access Law Program, a part of the Science Commons publishing project, supports "open access" to legal scholarship

Cool - there's now an

Courtesy of private email from http://science.creativecommons.org/literature/oalaw

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June 15, 2005

news flash on libraries and patriot act - Sanders' amendment passes

From Sanders Passes Critical Legislation to Amend Patriot Act and Protect Americans’ Reading Records   

Washington, DC—Congressman Sanders today led a tri-partisan coalition in restoring Americans’ constitutionally guaranteed right to read and access information without governmental intrusion or monitoring. With 199 Democrats, 38 Republicans and one Independent (Sanders) voting in support, the House passed Congressman Sanders legislation to amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act in order to keep the federal government from accessing Americans’ reading records without a traditional search warrant.

Can someone tell me how many are needed to stop a presidential veto?

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Wyoming expands its library confidentiality law

Now that's refreshing - effective July 1, Wyoming library patron transactions will be protected by law insted of just patron circulation and registration records (subject to established exceptions). 

An elegant update to reflect changing times - new wording would include virtual reference and other new patron transactions.  Nice. 

How about it, California librarians? Any readers from Wyoming want to comment?

I saw this thanks to the great state library laws list by Paul Neuhaus which he keeps updating.

Introduced: 2005 H.B. 0316 (January 25, 2005)
Status: Signed into Law on March 3, 2005; Becomes effective July 1, 2005
Sponsors: Representatives Esquibel & Walsh and Senator Boggs

(d) The custodian shall deny the right of inspection of the following records, unless otherwise provided by law:

(ix) Library [Delete: circulation] [Add: patron transaction] and registration records except as required for administration of the library or except as requested by a custodial parent or guardian to inspect the records of his minor child;

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June 13, 2005

Disappearing Government Information - New paper by Susan Nevelow Mart

You can download it for free from SSRN.   Susan Nevelow Mart, Let the People Know the Facts: Can Government Information Removed from the Internet be Reclaimed posted June 13, 2005

This article examines the legal bases of the public's right to access government information, and examines and analyzes the types of information that have recently been removed from the Internet and the rationales given for the removals. The concerted use of FOIA by public interest groups and their constituents is suggested as a possible method of returning the information to the Internet. There article concludes with a brief review of recent FOIA cases that might provide some guidance on the litigation sure to follow such concerted requests.

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June 10, 2005

Once Again - the Freedom to Read Amendment

According to the Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will try again to pass his Freedom to Read Amendment, when the House of Representatives is due to consider the House Commerce, Justice, State (CJS) Appropriations Bill, which funds the Justice Department. The Sanders amendment would cut off funds for bookstore and library searches under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. This last time the he Amendment to the Justice Department's funding bill was originally 219-200 in favor of the amendment, but the the House leadership changed enough votes to bring the tally to a 210-210 tie. The vote was close last time, so this is the time to send a letter or e-mail to your representative.

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Digital reference - legal issues webcast on Thursday

California librarians are invited to tune in Thursday at noon pacific time to my Infopeople webcast on digital reference legal issues.

Anyone else can download handouts and look at the archived webcast a little later.


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June 03, 2005

Anonymous library cards / Ostrowsky

article proposing anonymous library cards, written by Ben Ostrowsky, systems librarian at the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.

Privacy minded users deposit $20 to get a card - and money is deducted when they check out materials. Once the materials are returned, the money is restored.

Fascinating idea - I know I typically check out hundreds of dollars of stuff at a time ... and at first blush I thought this would be too limiting because the card would be too expensive for me. 

But having the privacy card option is very appealing, since I could still check out bestsellers and expensive art books on my identifiable library card. But I could also check out that book that I don't want anyone to know I'm reading - by using my privacy card.  Add self-checkout machines to the mix, and no humans connect me to the book -  great!   

I often use a small library and request books from other branches.  Could I still do this? I suppose I could, as the privacy card could still have a barcode.  If requesting from a home computer, you'd have to mask the IP address of the computer you're using with an anonymizer.

It would set up a two-tier system - those that can afford privacy have that option while others don't.  Yet anyone can still go to the library and read the books there free. And get this, it seems to me that for as little as 25 cents you could get a privacy card, giving you unlimited access to request books from other libraries - delivered to your branch to then read in-house for free.*  This might even help homeless patrons at the libraries that require an address to get an identifiable library card.

And for a no cost option (that is, no cost to users), see Pam Davis, “The honor system: a library encourages kids to take books without checking them out,” School Library Journal, (March 2004), for a successful experiment with anonymous checkout in a school.

*This assumes that the library gets books from other branches free for users with cards. Mine does.

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June 02, 2005

The list of library law folks grows by one ... Eli joins in

She's done it. The Mad Librarian goes to law school this fall!  Santa Clara University, hear hear - with its excellent high tech program in Silicon Valley.

Welcome, Eli Edwards! (Though you've already been an important part of the discussions thus far ... )

While we're at it - let's gather names of other library law folks. Add them to the comments in this post. It would be useful (dangerous?) to congregate.

If you are someone (or know someone) with both a law and a library background, and are interested in copyright, privacy, free speech and/or related topics, add a name to the comments.

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June 01, 2005

The time is NOW to fax your Senators and Congresspersons to support digitization projects

If you care about getting money to digitize library materials, send a fax or email to your Senators and Congresspersons right now, supporting DO-IT legislation, just introduced in the House and the Senate. DO-IT says that Congressional leaders will be reaching out to their Senate and House colleagues next week to get co-sponsors to House (3

If your reps are on the Senate HELP Committee, they are especially important... click on the committee, and then your member to get contact info.  Then do it - send your support for this legislation that will help fund library and education digital projects.

Congressman Ralph Regula of Ohio, a senior Republican appropriator and longtime DO IT champion, joined Ed Markey (D-MA) and Paul Gillmor (R-OH) to introduce HR-2512 on May 19th. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) joined Senators Dodd (D-CT), Snowe (R-ME) and Durbin (D-IL) in introducing S. 1023 on May 12th. These are folks to THANK!

Here's Digitalpromise.org 

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