(Copy)Right or Wrong: Library Edition

One of the reasons I decided to major in English for my undergraduate work is because I believed it would be the best major to prepare me for the next step in my academics—law school.  The further I work through the English program, the stronger I feel that it is the best area of study I could have chosen.  One of the reasons I mention this now is because of an English class I am currently enrolled in: “Copyright, Crime, and Appropriation” with Dr. Purdy,  The class focuses on the limits of copyright and fair use, and has opened the doors to many fascinating discussions on publication, ethical writing practices, and, of course, the law.

For my internship, these ideas have been echoing in my mind while developing research guides for the library.  In order to make these guides, I include links to various websites and videos, and also include at least one image.  When first developing these guides, a part of me wondered how within my rights I was to include these various forms of media.  An even more pressing question I had was the idea of ownership—who does the guide belong to?  Is it me, the creator?  Gumberg Library?  Mr. Bergfelt?  The LibApps platform?  None of the above?  All of us?

As far as usage, I believe Duquesne can rest easy.  For fair use, there are four different factors that are considered to determine whether or not a piece has infringed on copyright—these factors are purpose, nature, amount, and effect.  For the library, purpose is a major component to make the guides fall under fair use.  The research guides are being used to fulfill an educational purpose—ultimately, the library is in the right to have the guides, since projects developed for educational purposes tend to be deemed as fair use.  Some other things that help the case of defending the guides as free use include not being for-profit, and that they contain factual information rather than being a creative piece (the educational purpose, I believe, is the strongest defense).  I’m still investigating who owns the guides; my guess is that it is the creator of the guide, but I’ll update you next time.

-Gabby Kolencik

Quote o’ the Post: “Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.” -Mark Twain

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