Tag Archives: libraries

Fair Use: Misconceptions and Examples

I gave another talk on fair use last week, this time at the University of Chicago Library. The theme was “misconceptions and examples,” so after giving brief overviews of copyright and fair use, I talked through examples from several important cases. Then, I asked the participants to work through a few fair use scenarios, in pairs. We got back together as a group to discuss the scenarios at the end of the hour.

Here are the materials I used: PPT slides, PDF slides, and PDF handout. The handout, in particular, is very similar to what I used in my Teaching Fair Use talk at Loyola. All are licensed under CC-BY 4.0. Please reuse and remix them!


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The Fair Use Factors: Their History and Application

As part of my observance of Fair Use Week (a big holiday around these parts), I gave an online webinar today for ACRL. The topic was “The Fair Use Factors: Their History and Application.” The slides from this presentation are licensed under a CC-BY 4.0 International license, and I’m posting them here in PDF and PowerPoint format. Feel free to take advantage of the license, and if you participated — thanks for coming!

Update: Here’s the recording of the talk on YouTube.

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Teaching Fair Use

I gave a workshop this morning for the Loyola University Chicago Libraries. The subject was “Teaching Fair Use,” and it was in celebration of Fair Use Week. The participants included librarians and faculty, and I focused on tips and tricks for teaching fair use. (Of course, we also talked a lot about fair use doctrine.)

I’m posting my slide presentation here in PDF and PowerPoint format. It is licensed under CC-BY 4.0. I’m also posting the handout for a role-playing exercise we did in the second half of the workshop, also CC-BY 4.0.

During the question and answer period, I recommended a few other resources that I find useful when addressing copyright and fair use issues in the academic context. I’m listing them below in case folks are looking for them.

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Libraries, hotspot lending, and CIPA

I was excited today to see that the Chicago Public Library lends wifi hotspots. And then I learned that this is old news. The CPL program and a similar one at the New York Public Library were funded in part by the Knight News Challenge back in 2014, and they weren’t the first. (I’m not sure what was, but Providence Community Library started one in 2013.)

Here’s a round-up with links to a few libraries’ current pages explaining their programs. I’ve also listed funding sources where possible because I think a bit of skepticism is healthy here. (Though I don’t see anything too fishy.)

After I got over the fact that I should have rejoiced about this awhile ago, I realized another reason to be glad.

The Children’s Internet Protection Act requires, among other things, that libraries receiving federal funding for internet access install filters on their computers blocking access to images that are “obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors.” (The final restriction applies only to computers used by minors.)

If this sounds unconstitutional to you, you’re not alone. (In fact, you’re in the company of Justice Stevens and Justices Souter and Ginsburg.) Libraries and other internet freedom advocates have been fighting this law since it came into force. Nonetheless, it was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2003, and libraries have to follow it. Here’s a great summary of the history by the ALA, and here’s an accounting of the harms caused by CIPA, from EFF.

As I’ve said, though, CIPA applies to the library’s computers. It doesn’t seem to apply to hotspots (or to laptops patrons bring to use in-library internet). And fortunately, the libraries I checked with (Chicago, Providence, and Seattle) aren’t filtering their hotspots on their own.

I’m often frustrated that law doesn’t change as technology does, but on this occasion I’m rejoicing about it.

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Library Review: Portland (Maine) Public Library

In March, as part of a vacation that was called “spring” but felt more like winter, I visited Portland, Maine. I went to the public library there, which I often do when I travel, and I took a picture with the idea of writing about it here.

Photograph of Portland (Maine) Public Library

We were there on a fairly cold day (high of 32° F), which might account for the fact that the library was jam-packed. They’re also in the middle of a remodel, and I had the impression that some of the space was unavailable for that reason. Still, I was very impressed, both by the large number of patrons and by the building’s architecture.

The glass portion at the front of the building appears to be a more recent addition to 1960s or 70s building. (My very brief internet research reveals no facts, so this is just a guess.) After a quick walk through the library revealed no empty seats in the quiet area, we settled in the greenhouse-type lobby created by the glass extension. That area had one empty table, and it was not so noisy as to prevent reading, even though the glass was a bit echo-y. (Incidentally, I was reading Jo Baker’s Longbourn, which I highly recommend.)

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