Six essential copyright facts librarians should know
Lesley Ellen Harris has listed 6 essential copyright facts librarians should know. They are:
1. You can summarize an article or book without copyright permission. There is no copyright protection for ideas, history, facts, or news.
2. Licenses are like contracts – you can negotiate – so, if you want to license an electronic database or journal but under different terms than those offered, you can try to negotiate different terms.
3. Provisions that allow reproduction without permission are usually for specific types of libraries. In Canada, “library provisions” are for a library, archive or museum that is not established or conducted for profit and is not part of an organization that is established or conducted for profit. This type of library holds a collection of materials that is open to the public or to researchers.
4. Fair use/dealing is intentionally ambiguous. Harris quotes the U.S. copyright office fact shee on fair use as follows: “The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.”
5. Fair use/dealing applies to all users of content, not just libraries. The Supreme Court of Canada is quoted by Harris as saying, “research is not limited to non-commercial or private contexts.” Source: CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada(SCC 2004).
6. The duration of copyright varies from country to country. In Canada, copyright expires 50 years after the death of the author. In the U.S. this is not the case and you may still need to apply for permissions 50 years after the author’s death.